VietNamNet Bridge - The 3G data service fees in Vietnam are surprisingly low partly due to competition between network operators, which have been lowering the selling prices.





Reports by international institutions all show that the 3G service fee in Vietnam is equal to 44.3-46.1 percent of the average level in the world, and 44.6 - 47.8 percent of developing countries.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) recently reported that the 3G service fee in Vietnam is the cheapest in the world. It also said Vietnam is one of the fastest growing markets of Facebook.

The newspaper, while noting that Vietnam has more internet users than any other country in South East Asia and Vietnamese government officials also like Facebook, pointed out that in Vietnam, clients have to pay VND60,000, or $3 per gigabyte they use.

Analysts say the Vietnamese telecom market has certain advantages which allow mobile network operators to set 3G service fees at low levels.

Stiff competition exists among service providers in the Vietnamese market, especially since October 2009, when 3G services began to be provided in Vietnam. The stiff competition is created by the Vietnamese policy on opening the market and eliminating a monopoly.

The Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) lost its monopoly status in 2015 and since then, the market has been controlled by three biggest network operators – VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel. 

The stiff competition among the three big players has led to a continued fee decrease.

The 3G service providers in Vietnam all have begun providing 3G services after a long period of providing 2G services and earning big money from 2G-based voice call and SMS services. They have abundant capital from 2G services to develop infrastructure items for 3G.

In the first phase of development, 3G services did not bring profits to mobile network operators. However, they accepted losses in the first years in exchange for the development in the number of subscribers. 

Since they provide many different kinds of services, they can offset the losses incurred with 3G services by profits made from other services.

Thanks to the young population, mobile devices are very popular. Meanwhile, smartphones and other devices, necessary for using 3G services, are getting cheaper and cheaper in Vietnam.

A report showed that 36 percent of Vietnamese people access the internet with their smartphones. However, Vietnamese are still not satisfied with what they receive. 

Huy Quang