Over two million mobile phone numbers have been freed up as a result of the introduction of compulsory pre-paid user registration, VietNamNet Bridge reports. The numbers are mainly inactive, have similar personal information to another registered number, or have been surrendered by subscribers who already have over three numbers. As reported by CommsUpdate, the country’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) launched compulsory pre-paid mobile subscriber registration last year in order to restrict inactive customers and help ease the problem of rapidly depleting numbers. The deadline for users to register their SIM cards has been extended by one month to the end of January 2010 due to the sheer number of subscribers involved.
In a separate but related story, the MIC has reported that 85% of the country’s 130.4 million phone subscribers at the end of 2009 were mobile customers. The ministry claims that Vietnamese military-owned telecoms company Viettel had 42.5 million cellular subscribers, while Hanoi Telecom Company (Vietnamobile) and GTel (Beeline) had over two million customers each, although the number of active users is unknown. The mobile market is also home to MobiFone, which according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database had an estimated 28.2 million subscribers at the end of 3Q09, as well as EVN Telecom (3.87 million), S-Telecom (7.5 million), and Vinaphone, which recently revealed it had 26.7 million customers at end-2009. According to the MIC, revenues generated by the post and telecommunications sector in 2009 reached VND143.31 trillion (USD7.6 billion), up 61% year-on-year, despite the global economic crisis. State-owned telecoms company Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) earned VND78.65 trillion, while Viettel generated revenue of VND60.05 trillion (up 80% year-on-year). The Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology (FPT) earned VND1.9 trillion and generated pre-tax profit of VND449 billion.