The attempt by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) to charge pre-paid subscribers for network connections has been criticized as a method to extract higher payment from clients.
Explaining the idea of collecting network connection fees from pre-paid mobile subscribers, MIC said that it is trying to tighten the control over pre-paid subscription.
It happened that mobile network operators, in an effort to attract more users, continuously issue new simcards with big promotional accounts. Therefore, users tend to buy news simcards with new mobile phone subscription numbers instead of using their existing simcards and existing numbers. After the money in the accounts runs out, they throw the old simcards away and buy new simcards.
As a result, it’s impossible for the watchdog agency to accurately assess the development of mobile services in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the issuance of simcards in masses has led to the waste of subscription numbers, because many numbers have been thrown away and turned into “rubbish simcards.”
However, the attempt by the Ministry of Information and Communication has faced the strong opposition from the public. Though admitting that rubbish simcard is a big problem which needs to be settled as soon as possible, people still believe that the solution suggested by the ministry is the not the right one.
Le Minh, a pre-paid subscriber, said that there are many other ways the watchdog agency can follow to minimize the number of “rubbish simcards,” rather than charging subscribers for network connection.
“I myself have been a pre-paid subscriber for the last 10 years. However, I never use simcard, and I have only one faithful subscription number so far,” he said.
“Is it reasonable if the subscribers like me would also have to pay network connection fee?” he continued. “If we have to pay this kind of fee, we would rather to be post-paid subscribers, because the charges for the services applied to post-paid subscribers are much lower.”
According to Minh, in the past, mobile network operators, with an aim to develop the number of subscribers, issued simcards in masses and offered big discounts, and they got fat profits for this. Nowadays, if they do not strive to develop subscribers at any cost, they should remove or reduce the preferences to pre-paid subscribers, rather than setting up a new kind of fee.
“Collecting a network connection fee is just a pretext for mobile network operators to collect more money from clients,” Minh concluded. The information about the network connection fee has raised worries among the existing pre-paid subscribers.
Nguyen Quang Huy, a VinaPhone subscriber, said he wonders if the existing pre-paid subscribers have to pay this kind of fee, or the fee would be imposed only on the new subscribers onwards.
However, telcos have denied the opinion that network operators want to get more money from clients to make bigger profits. The network connection fee suggested by network operators is just 15,000 dong.
Mai Van Binh, General Director of MobiFone, one of the three biggest mobile network operators in Vietnam, said that telcos agree to the fee collection plan. He said that the “rubbish simcards” have caused a headache to mobile network operators, because they have generated “virtual subscribers.”
It is MobiFone and Viettel which have suggested the idea of charging pre-paid subscribers for a network connection fee. Once they have to pay money, they would think carefully before deciding to use many different simcards.
Also according to Binh, in 2011, MobiFone launched 30 million simcards into the market. However, by the end of the year, only 500,000 simcards, or 1.66 percent had been existing.
Source: Dat Viet/ VNN
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