Vietnam will introduce a new set of regulations governing telecom service prices early next year to prevent predatory pricing and unfair competitive practices, Dau Tu newspaper reported Wednesday, citing officials.
There is fierce competition on the local telecom market, and it could collapse if businesses sell under cost or offer sales promotions against the law, said Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang.
It's necessary to tighten regulations on promotions in the sector, he said.
Pham Hong Hai, director of the minitry's Telecommunications Department, said the lack of specific rules on mobile rates and a benchmark prices have made it difficult to manage the market.
The plan to strengthen regulations came after the Information and Communications Ministry ordered mobile network Beeline to end a sales promotion that it believed to be illegal.
Beeline, operated by Russian telecom giant VimpelCom, launched a so-called "Billionaire" calling plan in September, offering subscribers VND1 billion (US$47,600) in their accounts if they pay a minimum top-up of VND20,000 every month. The bonus value can be used for calling other Beeline users for 10 years.
The communications ministry immediately asked Beeline to stop the promotion, requiring it to provide a cost breakdown and prove that the calling plan was not a predatory pricing attempt.
Although the network rolled back the "Billionaire" calling plan as ordered, it argued that it only meant to support phone users during tough economic times. Beeline also pointed out that it does not hold a controlling share in the local market.
Hai said the network has not submitted its cost breakdown report yet, and until it does, it cannot resume the promotion program.
Vietnam's regulations stipulate that a bonus offered by businesses cannot exceed 50 percent of the value of the product they are selling.