Vietnam’s largest mobile phone operators are seeking governmental consent for a new series of numbers, saying they are running out of numbers for their fast-growing customer base.
VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel have requested the Ministry of Information and Communications for a new 11-digit number series each, local newswire VnExpress reported Thursday.
According to the report, 21 series of mobile phone numbers, equivalent to 168 million subscribers, are on the verge of being used up by the seven telecom companies operating in the country.
The three largest telecoms alone have reported between 100,000 and 130,000 new subscribers a day. They’ve estimated that available phone numbers in hand can only meet the growing demand for only the next two or three months, the report said.
The service providers said they planned to recycle inactive phone numbers in their systems to deal with the current situation, which they described “very tense.”
Analysts meanwhile said it’s not right for a country of 80 million people to need more than 170 million mobile phone numbers. They said the government should tighten control over the market to prevent waste.
Mobile phone users account for 86.9 percent of Vietnam’s nearly 100 million phone subscribers, VnExpress reported, citing figures from the Ministry of Information and Communications. However, about 50 million mobile phone numbers are inactive, waiting in the systems of telecom companies to be deleted soon.
Minister Le Doan Hop told a National Assembly meeting on Tuesday that his ministry would take aggressive measures to control prepaid phone users. Right now it’s even easier to buy a new SIM card on the street than buy vegetables, he said.
Hop said the fast growth of the market was “not real” and telecom companies should stop targeting huge numbers of new subscribers.
In Vietnam the number of new SIM cards sold are not necessarily equal to the number of new subscribers. Many phone users, instead of recharging their existing account, choose to buy new SIM cards as they are often filled with more money, leading to many disposed phone numbers.
Source: Thanh Nien