Vietnam 3G customers beef about lower quality despite price hike

By Quang Thuan-Truong Son, Thanh Nien News

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Ever since the country's three largest telcos made a controversial hike in 3G service rates last October, the quality of their services has been declining, customers complain.
N.T.B of District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, told Thanh Nien that she recently lost her wallet with a credit card inside and tried to access the internet with her mobile phone to find the phone number of her bank.
But with the 3G service she uses it took her more than an hour to do that, she lamented.
Thanh Ly of District 9, HCMC, told Thanh Nien she has been using Viettel's 3G services for three years, but for the last few months mostly to read news online since the connection has become slow.
N.Q.T, who buys MobiFone's Max30 3G package, complained that the connection speed has been slow on-and-off recently.
He complained to the company and the quality has since improved, he said.
Tran Anh Dung, who subscribes to MobiFone's M120 package, said in the last month it has sometimes taken him 15-20 minutes to get into the internet to check emails.
Cao Van Hung, who uses Vinaphone's 3G services, said he has been unable to chat on Facebook since mid-March.
He also has difficulties in using OTT (over the top) services like Viber and Zalo, which led him to believe that Vinaphone had “done something” to block these free services.
When approached by Thanh Nien, Vinaphone, MobiFone, and Viettel declined to comment on the situation.
They said they can only deal with particular cases rather than provide a general explanation for the quality of 3G services.
Last October Vinaphone, MobiFone, and Viettel hiked 3G tariffs for a second time in the year, with rates for the largest package going up by a whopping 40 percent.
The three leading telcos, who hold more than 95 percent of the market share, raised the average monthly tariff from VND50,000 to VND70,000.
Earlier, in April, they had hiked the monthly tariff from VND40,000 to VND50,000.
According to the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, Vietnam has around 20 million 3G subscribers.
If half of them continue to use the services by paying an additional VND20,000 a month, the three telcos will earn a combined VND200 billion (US$9.47 million) per month.
There are six telecom companies in Vietnam, but since the big three hold complete sway, consumers have little option but to put up with the hikes.

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