HCMC – Leading mobile carriers have asked the Ministry of Information and Communications for permission to add another digit to existing phone numbers, citing shortages of numbers which are believed to have resulted from care-free promotions.
Mobile carriers want numbers lengthened on strong demand
By Hien Nguyen - The Saigon Times Daily
A file photo shows prepaid subscribers rush to register with a MobiFone agency in HCMC as phone numbers for each network are capped at three per subscriber - Photo: Kinh Luan HCMC – Leading mobile carriers have asked the Ministry of Information and Communications for permission to add another digit to existing phone numbers, citing shortages of numbers which are believed to have resulted from care-free promotions.
Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone made the suggestion at a meeting to review the information and communications technology sector in 2009 that was organized by the ministry in Hanoi last week.
Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy director of Viettel Telecom, told the meeting that the ministry had provided six number prefixes for Viettel to develop mobile subscribers but that the sequences were exhausted with the number of subscribers growing quickly.
Hung told Vietnam Post newspaper that Viettel wanted the ministry to add one more digit to mobile numbers with prefix 09 to develop 2G, 3G and Mobile Internet services. In 2007, Viettel faced a lack of numbers and the ministry permitted it to increase its mobile numbers from ten to eleven digits.
MobiFone and Vinaphone also asked the ministry to provide another digit to increase subscriber numbers.
Vietnam now has seven mobile carriers with 21 different prefixes.
Vietnam has over 100 million cell phone numbers subscribed, but half of them are virtually non-existent since carriers’ steep discounts for new prepaid subscribers led to an upsurge in demand for new simcards.
Moreover, industry insiders say Vietnam is facing a shortage of mobile phone numbers when mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) are forecast to increase in the near future.
FPT and VTC are submitting proposals to set up mobile virtual network operators.
Last year, the Ministry of Information and Communications licensed Indochina Telecom to set up an MVNO and 3G services will mushroom soon, more reasons for more number resources.
“It is an irrational issue when Vietnam has over 86 million people. Thus, the ministry will reconsider the real number usage capacity and decide to supply more or not,” Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop said.
Last week, the ministry reported that in 2009 Vietnam had 130 million telephone subscribers, 85% of them mobile subscribers. The country now has 22.47 million Internet users with 2.89 million broadband subscribers.
The country’s total turnover from IT last year is estimated up to US$6.26 billion, including US$880 million in software turnover, up by 16% compared to 2008. Digital content turnover reached US$700 million, increasing by 55% against 2008.