VietNamNet Bridge - The cheap 3G service fee in Vietnam, the lowest in the world, is blamed for the low quality of services.


The service fee in Vietnam is equal to 44.3-46.1 percent of the average world level, and 44.6-47.8 percent of developing countries.

The low service fee is one of the reasons behind the sharp increase in the number of 3G subscribers over the last five years since mobile network operators began providing the service in Vietnam. 

According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), Vietnam had 29.1 million mobile subscribers by June 2015, an increase of 29.6 percent over the same period last year.

Prior to that, the Ministry of Information and Communications Telecommunication Agency reported there were 27.5 million 3G active subscribers by December 2014.

Vietnam had 1.6 million new 3G subscribers in the first six months of the year, indicating a boom in Vietnam.

A telecom expert said the increase has put pressure on mobile network operators. 

Service providers need huge capital to upgrade their network to serve the higher number of clients. 

With the low 3G service fee, this is an impossible mission.

“As the number of subscribers increases, the infrastructure will become overloaded, especially in places with a high density of subscribers,” he explained.

“The profits made by service providers are not large enough for re-investment,” he said.

Mobile network operators offer 3G at such low service fees, because they can make profits from 2G and other services which can offset the poor 3G business performance.

However, he warned there are major problems in accountancy methods because it is difficult to assess the business efficiency of every type of service. 

If the infrastructure cannot be upgraded to catch up with the rapid increase in the number of 3G subscribers, the service quality will inevitably decrease. 

The new 3G subscribers will increase tele-density to levels beyond the capacity transceiver stations can bear. As a result, 3G connectivity will flicker.

Telcos are now caught in a vicious circle. As the service fee is low, they don’t have money to upgrade the network and therefore, cannot upgrade the service quality. 

If the service quality cannot be improved, 3G subscribers will leave, and if so, they will find it even more difficult to take back investment capital.

The only solution for them now, according to analysts, is raising the subscription fee. A survey showed that the 20-40 percent fee increase would be acceptable.

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