VietNamNet Bridge – The mobile call charges in Vietnam have decreased by 15 percent per annum in the last three years. However, the charges are still much higher than that in other countries in the world. Experts believe that the charges would decrease further, while mobile phone calls would become as popular and cheap as the “street rice.”
A reporter of Buu dien newspaper said that 10 years ago, he had to spend 400,000 dong a month for mobile calls, while the expenses have been halved. A MobiFone subscriber now has to pay 49,000 dong a month in subscription fee only, while the network admission fee has dropped by 49.5 percent (50,000 dong), which shows the big changes in the mobile call charges.
In the past, using mobile phones was the “privilege” of high income earners, while mobile phone services have become popular when the mobile call charges have been decreasing continuously.
Mobile network operators, both big and small, have been launching a lot of sales promotion programs to stimulate the demand. After slashing the mobile call charges by 10-15 percent, big network operators such as MobiFone, VinaPhone and Viettel, which are holding more than 90 percent of the market share, have set up a new price ground.
As for MobiFone, the inner-network call charges have dropped by 10.24 percent to 880 dong per minute, while intra-network call charges have decreased by 9.28 percent to 980 dong per minute. It is clear that the gap between the inner-network and intra-network call charges has been narrowed significantly.
The stable charge decreases of 15-20 percent in the last 10 years have led to the boom of mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam. By October 2010, Vietnam had had 144.4 million mobile phone subscribers. Especially, the big sale promotion campaigns have led to the galloping growth rate of prepaid subscribers.
MobiFone’s prepaid service packages have seen the charges decreasing sharply. Mobi365 service fee has decreased by 10.7 percent, MobiZone 11.15 percent, Mobi4U 14.06 percent, Q-Student 14.52 percent, Q-Teen 15 percent. That explains why prepaid subscribers are now dominating the market with 90 percent of total subscribers being prepaid subscribers.
Mobile products would be even more popular
Though the mobile call charges have been decreasing significantly, experts still believe that mobile network operators still can slash the charges further.
In developed countries such as the US or the UK, the charges for every minute of mobile call are higher than in Vietnam. However, in fact, their mobile call charges in comparison with the income per capita are clearly lower than that in Vietnam.
The mobile call charges in Vietnam are also higher than of other Asian countries. The lowest mobile call charge in Vietnam is 800 dong per minute, which is higher than that in Indonesia, and much higher than that in India, according to Frost & Sullivan, a market survey firm, just at 200 dong per minute (1 cent per minute).
The low charges explain why the average number of called minutes of subscribers in Indonesia is double Vietnam’s, about 250 minutes per month vs 120-150 minutes per month in Vietnam. Meanwhile, the figure is up to 400 minutes in India.
It is expected that the mobile call charges would decrease further by 10-15 percent per annum in the upcoming years. This means that the service, which has become very popular, would become even more popular and become the “street rice.”
Big network operators have also slashed the fees for 3G services as well. MobiFone, for example, has slashed the Mobile Internet service fee by 80 percent, and slashed Fast Connect by 94 percent. Users now just have to pay 10 dong for every 10 Kb of used capacity with Mobile Internet and 65 dong per Mb for Fast Connect.
Meanwhile, experts have anticipated that 3G service fees would decrease further, because big guys, especially Viettel and the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group VNPT are competing fiercely with each other to attract more users.