Special Facebook and YouTube data packages suspended

18:03 | 12/01/2018
Domestic telecommunications providers Viettel, Vinaphone, and MobiFone stopped providing specialised inexpensive data packages to access Facebook and YouTube in order to create a fair playground between domestic and international digital content firms.
Viettel, Vinaphone, and MobiFone have suspended specialised data packages

Stopping inexpensive data packages

Since January 1, 2018, instead of publishing information on their websites and the media about suspending of specialised data packages, the three domestic telecommunication service providers, namely Viettel, Vinaphone, and MobiFone, silently put an end to the service. Notably, when the customers registered for specialised data packages via messenger, they received a reply refusing the registration and offering them other date packages to access Facebook and YouTube.

The representative of Viettel told VIR that the reason for suspending the specialised data packages is to adjust the company’s portfolio of data packages to meet the increasing demand of customers as well as provide better quality for customers.

The representative of MobiFone also stated that to provide better quality, the company will suspend the data packages Facebook Data, Video Data, and Facebook Flex. Customers can still access Facebook and YouTube via other packages at good rates.

In reality, the suspended specialised data packages to access Facebook and YouTube were nearly free. For example, with Viettel’s data packages at VND3,000 per day or VND15,000 per week, customers could surfing Facebook with high-speed and unlimited data.

MobiFone’s customers could surf Facebook for free and received 10 MB internet data with the FB1 package worth VND3,000 per day only. Besides, the FB30 costing VND20,000 per month, customers were offered 300 MB internet data and unlimited Facebook access.

Lawyer Truong Thanh Duc, chairman of Basico Law Company, stated that according to the regulation, the telecommunication providers are permitted to implement discount and promotion programmes with the maximum discount and promotion rate of 50 per cent compared to the existing listed price. Thus these packages were not compliant with the Competition Law.

Along with non-compliance with the Competition Law, Vu Hoang Lien, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Internet, stated that the specialised data packages caused losses to the state budget by reducing value added tax.

Building a fair playground

Truong Minh Tuan, Minister of Information and Telecommunications stated at a conference organised in late 2017 that Vietnam does not ban foreign digital firms from operating in Vietnam, but it is important to build a fair playground for domestic and foreign firms.

According to Tuan, foreign firms are enjoying numerous benefits in Vietnam. Notably, domestic telecommunications providers not only issued specialised inexpensive data packages to access Facebook and YouTube, but also arranged area for these foreign firms to set up their servers at their data centres for free. At present, Facebook has 300 servers and Google has 1,238 servers in Vietnam.

VIR asked whether domestic telecommunications providers will stop providing free server placement for foreign firms in Vietnam, but the providers refused to comment.

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By By Huu Tuan

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