Vietnam telcos affected by OTT services, up 3G prices

MobiFone and Vinaphone are increasing prices for their 3G packages by 25 percent as they look to offset losses caused by third-party services such as Viber, WhatsApp and Skype.

Vietnamese telcos MobiFone and Vinaphone have hiked the prices for their 3G data price plans, given that popular over-the-top (OTT) services such as WhatsApp and Viber are eating into their bottomlines.  

In a report by Vietnam News last Saturday, 3G data plans offered by these two telcos have gone up by 25 percent from 40,000 dong (US$1.90) to 50,000 dong (US$2.40) since the start of April this year.

They cited financial losses due to more consumers relying on services such as Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Skype and iMessage to make calls and send text messages as one of the primary reasons for the spike in prices.

Figures from MobiFone, for example, showed that 280,000 calls and 8.7 million text messages from 3.5 million local users are made via Viber alone. It did not state the timeframe for when the figures were collated, though. As a result of OTT services , telcos have seen losses of over 1 trillion dong (US$50 million) per year, the report stated.

Local carriers have also asked the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications to implement regulations around 3G data prices for OTT prices, it added.

Another reason for the increase in prices was because the telcos are investing large amounts into improving their network infrastructure to increase capacity, the report noted.

Vietnam News stated the country has around 20 million 3G subscribers, mostly serviced by MobiFone, Vinaphone and Viettel.



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