Saturday, 16 Dec 2017

Switch service, keep mobile phone number: Potential changes in market share

Updated at Friday, 06 Oct 2017, 19:37
The Hanoitimes - At the end of September, 3 telecom services providers MobiFone, Viettel and Vinaphone have implemented the pilot technical service of switching service provider while keeping mobile phone number, which allows customers to switch between providers but still maintain the existing number. This service is expected to be implemented in January 1, 2018.
Switching service providers and keeping mobile phone have been the common trend in the world for many years. This kind of services has been first offered to customers in 1997 in Singapore. Until 2000, US, Australia and other Asian countries have begun implementing this service. As of present, the service is available in 70 countries all around the world and becoming a trend in the telecommunication market, including South East Asia region such as Thailand, Malaysia and Laos. 
Switching service while keeping phone number will be fierce competition among telecom service providers.
According to the Head of the Telecommunication Agency Nguyen Phong Nha, the service will bring positive transformation to the telecom market in Vietnam, in which customers will have numerous benefits. The service will increase competitiveness among services providers, as it pushes them to improve service quality, introduce new functions, and focus on customer services.  With this being said, customers can easily choose their favorite service provider without having to change the phone number like before. Switching services provider while keeping mobile phone number are the feasible solution to meet the diversified demands of customers without having to change the phone number. Along with this service is the development of the Vietnam’s telecom market. The service will lay foundation for the trend of personalized phone number, which connects customer with one fixed phone number, and is the necessary platform to develop e-commerce and online payment. The personalization of phone number will significantly reduce pressure for the pool of phone number which is gradually exhausted. 

At present, there are 4 ouf of 5 telecom services providers in Vietnam, which are committed to implement the service, such as: MobiFone, Viettel, Vinaphone, and Vietnammobile. The feature of keeping existing phone number while switching service provider will create opportunities for services providers with better service quality gaining customers. However, which services providers can take this chance remains to see. 

In terms of infrastructure, no doubt Viettel has the biggest advantage with the largest mobile network, in which its 3G network has covered across the country, while Viettel has taken the lead in the race of 4G network coverage. Moreover, Viettel has always come ahead of other services providers in new customer development and attracting customers from competitors. For Vinaphone, the most obvious advantage of this services provider is the high number of loyal customers as one of the first telecom service providers in Vietnam. However, having to share the infrastructure with MobiFone, the network coverage of Vinaphone is hard to compare with Viettel, which is also the disadvantage of this service provider.

MobiFone is the service provider with the lowest rate of subscriber development comparing to Viettel and Vinaphone. As such, in the period of 2013 – 2016, among the three biggest telecom service providers in Vietnam, only MobiFone has the market share being reduced from 31.78% to 26.1%. Moreover, the network coverage of MobiFone is much smaller than the other two service providers. Vietnamobile – with 2.9% market share in 2016, there is a small chance for them but is not expected to gain more customers than as of present. With no restriction to promotion events like leading telecom services providers, and the most reasonable internet fee among others are the only advantages of this telecom service provider to attract students and low income customers. 
Nguyen Tung
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