Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has rejected a proposal by state-run national PTO Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT) to merge its two wholly-owned mobile operators, MobiFone and Vinaphone, stating that the move would have a negative impact on competition, reports Saigon GP Daily. VNPT was required to submit a restructuring plan to the government for final approval by the end of last year, under a programme to reorganise state-owned companies to boost competition in certain markets. Under the government’s new rules, an institution or individual that owns more than 20% in one company may not hold more than 20% of another firm operating in the same market. VNPT is the largest fixed telephony and broadband provider in Vietnam and owns 100% of the country’s second and third largest mobile operators by subscribers, Vinaphone and MobiFone. Saigon GP Daily cites the Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Bac Son, as saying that VNPT’s proposal does not follow the government’s telecommunication plan, under which the country must still have three to four large telecoms operators following the restructure; if MobiFone and Vinaphone were to be merged, the mobile market would be left with just two large players – the VNPT unit and the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Viettel. The MIC will now instruct VNPT to formulate a new restructuring plan for submission to the government.