Vietnam moves to manage OTT apps

22 Aug 2013

The Vietnamese government is looking to formulate new policies to ‘manage’ free over-the-top (OTT) services such as Viber and Whatsapp, Reuters reports, citing a statement from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Free internet-based services are said to be harming the country’s network operators, including military-owned Viettel, which told state media that it would stand to lose as much as ‘40%-50% of its revenue’ if all of its customers used OTT apps instead of traditional messaging and calls. Some observers have criticised the proposed move, describing it as an additional step from the government to censor internet users. Earlier this month, the US Embassy in Hanoi said it was ‘deeply concerned’ by a controversial decree signed by the prime minister in July that ‘appears to limit the types of information individuals can share via personal social media accounts and on websites.’