Mobile networks say fewer new users not a cause for worry

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Local mobile operators say they are not fretting over a sharp decline in new mobile phone users because the more important task now is to retain existing clients.

The number of new mobile phone users has fallen sharply this year, according to a report carried by news website VnExpress Sunday. The three largest phone companies Vinaphone, MobiFone and Viettel, would have a total of 130,000 new users a day in previous years, but the figure has dropped by 70 percent now, the report said.

"We are no longer interested in the number of new subscribers each day," an executive at the military-run Viettel said. "Now we only pay attention to the number of active users and how much they pay us each month," he said.

He said the market has already been divided with each player having their share. Now is the time they try to keep their customer base.

"The most important thing now is to retain customers to make sure they will not leave us due to any dissatisfaction over our quality, prices or after sales service," he said.

A Vinaphone official, also unnamed, told VnExpress that the sharp fall in new customers is not a negative thing for the market. It means phone companies will have to focus on quality to boost usage.

"Promotions in the future will mainly be for phone users of the same networks," he added.

PricewaterhouseCoopers reported in June that Vietnam had a large mobile market size with 155.5 million subscribers. Vinaphone and MobiFone, both owned by state-run VNPT, and Viettel account for 88 percent of the subscribers.

The consulting company said the market will see slower growth and telecom operators will have to search for new growth avenues by increasing usage, moving more customers to post-paid service, and increasing data and media services.

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