Vietnam tightens grip on mobile phone users

TN News

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Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications is drafting regulations that will ban the resale of registered sim cards, an official said.

The new rule is an attempt to restore order on the telecom market and make sure all mobile phone numbers, especially prepaid ones, are properly databased, Nguyen Xuan Tru, deputy director of the Telecommunications Department, was quoted as saying on the government's website.

Phone shops frequently recycle the personal information of one person to register multiple phone numbers.

Tru said the government plans to tighten control over these shops and ensure their customer databases are electronically linked to those maintained by the nation's mobile service providers.

Up to 90 percent of Vietnam's mobile phone customers are prepaid users. Until recently, many phone users went to shops and bought new numbers without bothering to register with the authorities.

In 2009, the governemnt ordered all prepaid subscribers to register their SIM cards or risk having their service suspended. After several deadline extensions, service providers reported that they had completed their customer databases in early 2010.

The Ministry of Information and Communications said it is working with the Ministry of Public Security to review the data collected by three major wireless networks, MobiFone, Vinaphone and Viettel.

Tru said the first inspection was launched in Hanoi on May 1 and is expected to wrap up by the end of June. After that, police will continue checking customer databases in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City, he said.

Phone users will be imformed if their numbers are found to have been improperly registered, Tru said. They will then have seven to 10 days to provide correct information before their numbers are deleted from the system, he added.

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