The Authority of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) revealed on June 2 that a second mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) will soon debut in Vietnam.
The seventh telecom provider in the country, the new network will be launched with a new prefix number and use the mobile phone infrastructure of the State-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), which boasts among the best coverage and quality in the country.
Vietnam is one of the youngest MVNO markets in the world, with its first virtual operator - the Indochina Telecom Company (Itelecom) - launched in April this year.
A virtual network operator does not own network infrastructure but rather purchases telecommunications services from traditional mobile network operators (MNO) and resells network services after repackaging at lower prices.
The pioneering Itelecom has entered into an agreement with Vinaphone, a mobile subsidiary of VNPT, which gives it access to the company’s network services and allows it to offer its own. The prefix of its mobile service is 087.
In its initial phase, Itelecom is being introduced to workers at industrial zones in nine cities and provinces: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh, Binh Duong, Long An, and Dong Nai.
According to MIC, a legal framework has been established for virtual telecommunications networks.
The MVNO model will help save investment costs for businesses and avoid any waste of social resources as unused traffic and infrastructure of MNOs can be exploited by carriers that do not have their own infrastructure, said Nguyen Phong Nha, Deputy General Director of the MIC’s Authority of Telecommunications.
New SIMs stopped delivering through authorized service providers
The Ministry of Information and Communications has directed that the three leading mobile network providers in Vietnam, namely Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone, apply suitable methods to tackle the issue of illegal pre-activated SIMs in the market at the moment.
Accordingly, from this June, Viettel, Mobifone, and VinaPhone all stop selling their own connection KITs at their authorized service providers or allowing these providers to pre-connect new SIMs for selling later on. Instead, the three enterprises are delivering new SIMs and collecting buyers’ required information directly at their branch offices.
This solution is applied since problems arise when there are over 125 million mobile subscribers in Vietnam while its own population is only around 96 million. The rate of 1.3 mobile subscriber per citizen in the nation leads to the issue of pre-activated SIMs sold for marketing purposes.
As mobile subscription growth saturates in Vietnam, it is high time that mobile network providers focused more on improving service quality and developing new apps or service based on the mobile platform.
Answering the inquiry whether this new decision can affect users or not, the representative of the Authority of Telecommunications assured that all mobile network providers are going to try their best to facilitate new SIM purchasing and information collection processes. They are going to open more branch offices and introduce their own mobile telecoms service providers in various locations to serve potential customers. SGGP/VNA