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Vietnam Empowering Virtual Mobile Carriers

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The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is planning to implement additional wholesale policies aimed at establishing a more transparent legal corridor, making it easier for virtual mobile carriers to negotiate when buying traffic.

During this month’s press conference, officials shared management views regarding the emergence and growth of virtual network operators in Vietnam. Nguyen Phong Nha, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA), noted that the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) was no longer a new concept. These entities are enterprises that do not own telecommunications infrastructure but still offer mobile services by leasing infrastructure from carriers.

So far, MIC has licensed five businesses to provide virtual mobile network services in the country. VNTA statistics show that as of 30 April, there were about 2.65 million subscribers of virtual carriers in the country. This accounted for 2.1% of the total number of subscribers in the entire mobile market. Currently, virtual carriers account for a small number of users, the services provided are only modest, and there are no services that really create their own strengths, Nha noted.

To foster development, virtual carriers should identify services that genuinely enhance user experiences, he suggested. This could encompass services catering to niche markets unreachable by major carriers. This aligns with the global developmental trajectory and will aid in advancing content services, creating additional telecommunications offerings built upon broadband internet infrastructure.

According to Nha, regulations about service provision for virtual carriers were relatively uncomplicated due to their lack of infrastructure ownership and because they did not participate in applying for frequency licences. Virtual carriers only need to sign contracts to purchase SIM cards from other mobile carriers to be able to provide services.

In the process of amending the Law on Telecommunications, VNTA has introduced a wholesale policy aimed at establishing a more transparent and accessible legal corridor. This helps carriers negotiate in the process of buying traffic, from which they can provide good quality service with appealing prices.

Virtual carriers need to find an attractive niche to sustain a consistent subscriber base and achieve a higher ARPU (average revenue per user) compared to the present average. Furthermore, officials at the conference emphasised that if livestreams violate the law, the Internet connection will be promptly cut off, and telecommunication and Internet services will be suspended for the users involved.

Nguyen Thị Thanh Huyen, Deputy Director of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, said that the use of livestreams on social networks is popular nowadays. However, he claimed that some individuals have exploited livestreams to disseminate content against the Party and State.

To enhance the effectiveness of Internet service use management, a draft decree that replaces Decree 72 proposes swift and urgent measures for dealing with individuals who breach regulations related to the online environment. This includes addressing violations committed through mediums such as livestreams.

The authority recognised that ceasing the provision of telecommunication and Internet services was not a comprehensive solution, as violators could resort to using alternate accounts. However, this was deemed an essential supplementary approach for prompt action, enabling immediate resolution of detected issues and anomalies within the network environment, the deputy director stated.

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