VietNamNet Bridge – With terminal devices and service fee getting cheaper, the number of 3G subscribers in Vietnam has been increasing rapidly, according to the Telecommunication Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication.
It took nearly 22 months to make 3G services popular in Vietnam, since the day network operators began providing the services in October 2009. By the end of July 2011, Vietnam had had over 8 subscribers, while the figure had jumped to 12.8 million by April 2012, accounting for 14.71 percent of the total population.
According to telecom experts, the sharp increase in the number of 3G subscribers should be attributed to the decreases in the Mobile Internet service fee and the strong development of smart phone series.
The surveys conducted by Nielsen and Qualcomm in the three biggest cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and HCM City showed that 52 percent of polled people use the data service via USB 3G, while 48 percent via mobile phones. The rapid warming up of Mobile Internet services have been explained by the stiff competition among network operators which has led to the sharp fee reductions.
In late 2011, Viettel made a breakthrough when launching MiMax service package with the monthly fee of 40,000 dong a month and no limitation on the capacity used.
Right after that, MobiFone lowered the service fee of MIU package from 60,000 dong to 40,000 dong a month. Following the two giants, the third giant VinaPhone has also launched Max package with the charges equal to that of Viettel.
The fee reduction race still continues, when Viettel in April began applying new policies and launching new service packages with surprisingly attractive fees.
The unlimited MiMax package designed for students has the fee of 20,000 dong a month only. Meanwhile, the network operator has increased the free capacity for nearly all Mobile Internet packages by 17-66 percent, while lowering the charges on excessive capacity to 2.5 dong/10Kb, which is just equal to 50 percent of the previous rates and is 50 percent lower than the 2G service charges.
Meanwhile, VinaPhone has launched a package allowing accessing the Internet with just 25,000 dong for 500Mb a month. MobiFone has also marketed different packages beneficial consumers, lowered charges for the packages allowing accessing the Internet from mobile phones.
Hoang Son, Director of Viettel Telecom, said that the 3G boom has not been seen in Vietnam yet, because people think that it would be very costly to use 3G. However, in fact, with the policies aiming to stimulate the demand, 3G charges have become even lower than 2G.
According to the E-commerce and Information Technology Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, 20 percent of Vietnamese population would use 3G services by 2015, or five percent higher than the current 15 percent.
Dinh Anh Huan, Business Director of The Gioi Di Dong Supermarket Chain, believes that 3G would be more popular in the time to come thanks to the “duo support” from both the network operators plans to cut down charges and the downward tendency in smart phone prices.
The years of 2012 and 2013 would be the time of smart phone booming in Vietnam, when people just need to have 1.5 million dong to possess a smart phone.
“The cheap terminal devices and low service charges both would have push up the number of Mobile Internet service users,” Huan maintained.
The Vietnamese tablet and smart phone market has been developing very rapidly. A survey by IDC showed that the market grew by 44 percent in 2011 and would reach 51 percent in 2012.