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The moves to be taken by Viettel when playing pay-TV games

Viettel, one of the three biggest telecom groups in Vietnam, holds for certain the “admission ticket” to the pay-TV market. What will it do to compete with the existing experienced content service providers?

VietNamNet Bridge – Viettel, one of the three biggest telecom groups in Vietnam, holds for certain the “admission ticket” to the pay-TV market. What will it do to compete with the existing experienced content service providers?

 

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No official decision has been made by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC), but opinions from the well informed circle say Viettel would, sooner or later, get the nod from the ministry to set foot on the pay-TV market, despite the strong protest from the pay-TV association.

The members of the association say telcos should count their blessings and not to jump into a disadvantageous field. They imply that telcos are very keen on technical issues and infrastructure system, while they are inexperienced enough to produce TV content.

MIC’s officials have many times expressed the ministry’s viewpoint on supporting the telecom group, saying that the participation of telcos on pay-TV market is a reasonable tendency, and that the stiffer competition among pay-TV enterprises would benefit customers.

As such, the topic for discussion for now is not whether Viettel would join the market, but what it would do to cement its firm position on the unfamiliar field.

What kind of customers Viettel would target to, what are the differences in Viettel’s TV programs and if the service fees are competitive than traditional TV enterprises are the three matters customers are most interested in.

Viettel’s targeted clients

Most of the cable TV subscribers are in the central areas of big cities or towns. In rural and remote areas, only a small proportion of households have terrestrial digital devices or IPTV, while the majority of them still watch analog TV.

A senior executive of Viettel has called this the “unoccupied area,” saying that Viettel would target the clients in the area when it sets up cable TV.

Viettel has its reason when deciding that this would be the major market it targets to. The telecom group now has a large fiber cable system of 200,000 kilometers which reach out to 95 percent of the communes throughout the country.

It would take another TV enterprise some 10 years and tens of billions of dong worth of investment capital to provide pay-TV services to every household all over the country. Meanwhile, it would take Viettel just a short time to do that.

Viettel also has a good workforce with 25,000 technicians and sales collaborators to be sure that its service can reach out to the remotest areas of the country.

While the major market is believed to bring 65 percent of customers, Viettel would also target the clients in urban areas, where users have higher spending levels and require higher quality.

How will the TV programs be?

Experts have warned that the big guys like VTV and VTC would try every possible method to hinder content development companies to make TV programs to sell to Viettel.

They have also warned that in the worst scenario, Viettel, though allowed to provide cable TV services, but it would only take responsibility for infrastructure items, not for producing TV programs.

In fact, 90 percent of the programs provided on pay-TV channels are the ones imported from other countries. The quality of pay-TV remains very low, which is the reason explaining why only 15 percent of households have used the service so far.

Service fee to be competitive

Viettel has declined to give information about the service fee, but it has affirmed that the fees would be very “reasonable.”

A senior executive of the telco said there would be 7 basic service packages to be applied to the clients in rural areas, cities and those clients who have the demand for added value packages.

Buu Dien

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