Pay TV move stirs up debate

14:19 | 26/03/2013
Viettel’s recent move asking for permission to step into pay TV market segment has incurred a fierce reaction from established market incumbents.

In a document to the National Assembly and Government Inspectorate the Vietnam Pay Television Association (VNPayTV) argued that the television market showed signs of reaching saturation point and the government demanded state groups to divest capital from non-core businesses, so the birth of a new pay TV service provider like Viettel would cause conflicts and threaten businesses in the pay TV market.

In this context, head of Ministry of Information and Communications’ (MIC) Telecommunications Department Pham Hong Hai said Viettel asking for supply of cable television services could not be considered a non-core investment.

“The Telecommunications Department considers if the network infrastructure of businesses meets set requirements and businesses have clear and feasible investment plans, they will be eligible for providing the service,” said Hai.

Former deputy MIC minister Mai Liem Truc said pay TV was a service in the background of transmission and broadcasting networks and should not be considered a non-core business if a business already had network infrastructure.

A telco like Viettel joining pay TV service provision would help the business take advantages of its network infrastructure striving for services diversification.

Deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Le Manh Ha agreed telecom firms possessing modern optic cable system should be allowed to act in cable television and telecom services provision, but there should be regulations requiring these telcos to share infrastructure with other cable TV service providers.

In asking for cable TV services provision, Viettel calculated that around 16.5 million local households, two million of them have yet to possess TV sets, would be potential pay TV users in the future. The telco sets to attract one million subscribers every year, reaching a subscriber count of five million after five years providing the service with 35 per cent of customers in urban and 65 per cent in rural areas.

With cable television services, Viettel also contemplated focusing on the fields as education and popularisation of healthcare services, providing audiences particularly those in rural and remote areas with distant learning programmes to help them improve foreign language skills and knowledge.

With cable television services, Viettel also contemplated focusing on the fields as education and popularisation of healthcare services, providing audiences particularly those in rural and remote areas with distant learning programmes to help them improve foreign language skills and knowledge.
 

By Huu Tuan

vir.com.vn

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