VNPT and Viettel to reduce charges

9 Jul 2007

Three of Vietnam’s cellcos are to reduce customer service charges by as much as 20%. Both Vietnam Post and Telecoms (VNPT), parent company of cellcos VinaPhone and MobiFone, and the military-owned Viettel have expressed intentions to reduce inter-network rates by up to 20% and intra-network charges by as much as 10% during the third quarter of this year. The decision to cut rates follows the government’s recent announcement that telecom companies would be allowed to freely adjust tariffs in a bid to liberalise the market. Under Government Decision No 39, effective this month, telecoms will be allowed to set their own service rates in accordance with market movements and their own business plans. Operators seeking to adjust rates would simply be required to inform the Ministry of Post and Telematics (MPT) of their plans in advance. Up to now, the MPT has tightly controlled telecom rates and telcos deemed to have significant market power (SMP) — ie a market share of over 30% — have not been allowed to adjust tariffs without MPT approval. Deputy Minister of Post and Telematics Le Nam Thang said that deregulation would cut down on bureaucracy and force firms to enhance service quality and lower rates in order to be more competitive. However, any collusion among different telecoms to fix rates would be strictly dealt with, added Thang.