Viettel proposes slashing mobile phone charges

Tuesday, 2014-07-08 10:40:32
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More smartphone users are turning to free services for their daily communication.
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Nhan Dan Online – The military-run telecommunications firm Viettel has proposed lowering mobile calling rates as a measure to boost consumption amid economic difficulty.

Viettel Deputy Director-General Hoang Son said the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) should use the same pricing scheme for both intra-network and inter-network calls.

Currently, mobile phone users are charged a higher fee when making calls to a number serviced by a different wireless carrier.

Son said calling rate cuts are inevitable as more and more smartphone users turn to special services, known as OTT, which offer free messages and calls over the internet.

The MIC predicted that Vietnam will have 30 million users of OTT services by the end of 2014. Currently, Viber has the largest user base in Vietnam with 12 million users, followed by Zalo with 10 million.

The Viettel official said that its revenue could drop by VND 1 trillion (US$47 million) if the same charges are applied to both intra-network and inter-network calls, but that the move would benefit phone users.

Commenting on Viettel’s proposal, Pham Hong Hai, head of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority, said the MIC would request Viettel and other operators to report on their current mobile charges as the basis for whether or not to accept carriers’ proposals.