VietNamNet Bridge – State-owned telecommunications giant VNPT Group has announced it will decommission all pay phones nationwide from March 25 this year due to a slump in demand.
A pay phone booth outside of VNPT head office in Ha Noi. The telecom giant will end its pay phone service nationwide from March 25.
The company began providing the service in 1997, and the number of telephone boxes around the country subsequently rose to about 11,000.
However, demand for the service has gradually decreased with the growing popularity of mobile phone services.
The country’s oldest telecom, which last June stopped providing dial-up internet services, is considering using the pay phone sites as wifi hotspots.
Fixed fone arm slump
VNPT late last month said it incurred large losses due to the decreasing demand of its fixed line telephone services.
The company said the number of its fixed line telephone subscribers has reduced from 13 million to five million, again due to the increasing popularity of mobile phones.
“Each year VNPT lost about 25 per cent of its fixed-line subscribers and most of our subscribers now just use the service as a backup connection” said deputy head of VNPT’s Business Department Vu Tien Duong.
“In addition, turnover from each subscriber was decreased from VND40,000 (US$2) in 2011 to VND33,000 in 2012, which included a VND20,000 monthly subscription fee.”
Duong said with such a rate of decline, he could not predict the fate of the service.
Meanwhile, according to VNPT’s calculations, while the price of a fixed-line telephone call charge is VND650 per minute, its subscribers pay just VND400, meaning the company loses VND250 for every minute.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) had earlier raised the calling charge from mobile phones in an attempt to stimulate use of fixed lines.