Ministry to clamp down on mobile phone promotions

Mobile phone promotions offering pre-paid subscribers free minutes with their purchases will longer be allowed to hand out free giveaways worth more than 50 percent of what customers pay for.

Mobile phone promotions will not be allowed to exceed 50 percent of the value of mobile cards for pre-paid mobile subscribers. (File photo)

The Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Department said the new rule would come into effect July 1.

The ministry has scheduled a meeting with mobile operators on April 22 to collect their opinions on the matter one last time before issuing the decree on May 15.

According to a circular draft of regulation, the maximum bonus people purchasing phone cards worth VND100,000 (about $5) can receive will be VND150,000.

Le Nam Thang, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, said the ministry was encouraging competition among the mobile operators through enhancing service quality and reducing rates.

Telecom giants often launch mobile service promotional campaigns several times a month. During the promotional periods, the value of recharge cards is raised anywhere from 50 to 200 percent.

In late 2009, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Promotion Agency proposed that the Ministry of Information and Communications allow mobile operators to launch promotional campaigns with limited promotional values of up to 50 percent of recharge cards.
The ministry claimed that the telecom market was a mess because mobile operators were always caught up in promotional races. During these campaigns, mobile networks could attract 5,000-8,000 new subscribers a day, but most stopped using the service after using up the promotional values.

By T.Binh, translated by Tan An

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