Vietnam to loosen reins on small mobile networks

TN News

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Vietnam will give small mobile networks more pricing leeway so they can better compete against the country's three wireless giants, which collectively hold nearly 90 percent of the market.

The Ministry of Information and Communications will ensure healthy competition by tightening pricing regulations on large companies while easing rules on smaller networks, Vietnam News Agency reported Friday, citing Tran Nhat Le, a senior official of the ministry's Telecommunication Department.

She said Gmobile was the only small network that had managed to expand its market share in the first half of the year. MobiFone, Viettel and Vinaphone continued to strengthen their dominance, though with only a slight market share increase of less than one percentage point each.

Official statistics show that military run Viettel now tops the market with a 40.67 percent share after taking over EVN Telecom, followed by Vinaphone with 30.07 percent and MobiFone 17.90 percent. Vietnamobile accounts for 8.04 percent while Gmobile has a 3.21 percent.

S-Fone saw a large chunk of its share taken away and now only has a 0.1 percent share of the market. The network was formed by South Korean's SK Telecom and Saigon Postel in 2001, but SK divested from the joint venture in 2010.

Pham Hong Hai, director of the Telecommunication Department, told news website VnExpress Friday that Vietnam's mobile phone market still has room for growth.

"Mobile phone services have reached almost all customers in urban areas where living conditions are high. But in other areas that have not been as much developed, it's necessary to expand services," he said.

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Hai said small companies will be given favorable conditions to become larger networks, including fewer restrictions on pricing and discounts.

Vietnam's current regulations stipulate that a bonus offered by businesses cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the product they are selling.

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