These days you can telephone North America or Britain for next to nothing, something undreamt of just a few years ago, and it’s all because of the internet.
“My family makes lots of long phone calls to our relatives living abroad. Today it costs us less than a dollar for a 30-minute international call,” said a Ho Chi Minh City resident.
She is using VOIP (Voice-over-Internet Protocol), for which there’s been a whopping great reception in Viet Nam because of the low, low cost.
All the internet providers are pinning their hopes on VOIP to boost their revenue. They believe more and more families whose children are studying or living abroad will opt for VOIP.
Nguyen Xuan Quang is the director of OCI, which provides a VOIP service named VietVoice. He says the talk time for international phone calls through his firm surpassed 4 million minutes in October and was well up on the figure for July. Unsurprisingly, calls to the U.S. accounted for 70 to 80 percent of the international talk time.
The internet phone market is booming, says Nguyen Thi Kim Cuc, deputy general director of VOIP giant Saigon Postel Telecom. She estimates Viet Nam’s VOIP service generated around US$1.25 million in revenue last month, but adds that more than US$1 million of this came from the use of illegal phone cards.
Nowadays all the providers sell pre-paid VOIP phone cards, and OCI even offers post-pay cards for its subscribers in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi.
Service fees to come down
Experts predict the internet will provide people with anytime, anywhere global connectivity at alluring prices.
Yahoo, they point out, has just introduced Yahoo Voice, which allows calls to the U.S. for under one cent a minute.
The VOIP service will surely tempt ever more people away from traditional telephone calls, so they can look forward to even cheaper rates in the very near future.