The mobile number portability (MNP) policy planned by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has made small network operators excited, but has not been applauded by big operators.
MNP enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another. MIC plans to allow to carry out MNP from 2014.
Big network operators feel anxious
A senior executive of VinaPhone, one of the three biggest mobile networks in Vietnam, said that in principle, the State management agencies need to give clients the right to choose the network operators suitable to them. He also said that it would not be technologically difficult to carry out MNP. However, the problem is that network operators would have to make heavy investment to serve the MNP.
Meanwhile, the current economic situation is not good, and no one can be sure if the circumstances can be bettered by 2014 to allow network operators to have money on upgrading their system and serve the MNP.
The senior executive has also anticipated that once the MNP policy is implemented, some subscribers would leave big networks for small networks. However, he does not think that this would be a big problem for big networks, because the number of such subscribers would not be high.
The more worrying thing, according to the executive, is that the three big network operators would have to struggle to scramble for subscribers. “This may happen that in order to compete with each other, mobile network operators would try to attract subscribers by offering the prop-up of network shifting fee and compensation fee clients have to pay to the old networks,” he said.
“Therefore, the state management agencies need to apply necessary associated policies powerful enough to prevent a stiff competition which may lead to the market chaos,” he continued.
An executive of MobiFone, another big mobile network operator in Vietnam, has also expressed his worry about the investment rate increases, once the MNP policy is applied.
Hoang Son, Director of Viettel Telecom, said that when applying MNP, mobile network operators would have to make heavier investment to upgrade the technique system. He still cannot be sure how much money the company would have to spend, but he is sure the policy would have big impacts on big mobile network operators, forcing them to better take care for clients and upgrade their service quality.
Prior to that, Deputy General Director of Viettel Nguyen Manh Hung said that the MNP should be applied only when the number of registered subscribers coincides with the operational subscribers in reality, and when the number of 3G subscribers reaches a certain level.
Hung warned that if the policy is applied too early, mobile network operators would have to apply short term measures to prevent their subscribers from shifting to other networks. If so, they would not pay attention to long term investment, which would be a big problem for the market.
Small network operator gets excited
Of the small networks, Beeline and S-Fone still keep silent. This seems to not be the top concern of Beeline now, when it has to think about a new development strategy after Vimpelcom leaves Vietnam. Meanwhile, S-Fone has to look for new partners.
Meanwhile, Vietnamobile considers MNP as the big opportunity. Elizabete Fong, Vietnamobile’s General Director has said Vietnamobile is eager for the policy, which would help new network operators attract more clients. A lot of people have to use the service of one service providers for the last many years, just because they do not want to change their subscription numbers.
Source: Buu Dien/VNN
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