The number of phone subscribers fell by more than 46 million in just one month, according to the General Statistics Office Of Vietnam (GSO).
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Tran Duc Lai was surprised at the sharp decrease of phone subscribers
By late May, the country had 127.8 million phone subscribers, down 46.5 million compared to late April.
The trend is a continuing one. Compared to the same period last year, the number of land-line subscribers had decreased by 5.2%, and mobile phone users fell by 11.8%.
According to the GSO, the decline is due to efforts by the telecom sector to weed out unregistered pre-paid subscribers.
However, Tran Duc Lai, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, was surprised at the sharp decrease and said that it is "hardly possible". He shared at the Vietnam International Telecommunication Conference 2011: “I was unaware of this. The ministry will investigate the situation and release an official announcement soon.”
Some international telecom experts also shared the same idea with Lai, saying that even if the removal of unregistered subscribers is factored in, this number seems too high.
The deputy minister indicated that his ministry will tighten control over pre-paid mobile phone subscribers this year.
At present, the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Ministry of Public Security are working together to cross-check their databases in order get rid of unregistered accounts.
Hugh Roberts, a speaker at the conference, said, “The number of phone subscribers is much higher than Vietnamese population because it includes many unregistered users. It would better for the country to bring the number of subscribers more in line with the actual population.”