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Viber to be under strict control in Vietnam

Staff writer |
Under a draft on the management of internet-based voice and text services, Viber will have to cooperate with Vietnamese telcos and obey the regulations on charges and service quality to be eligible to provide Viber Out in Vietnam.

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The circular says that OTT (over the top) services will be under control. Viber will be most affected because it provides internet-based text and voice services, both free and paid.

The draft circular says that foreign firms will be allowed to provide paid internet-based text and voice services in Vietnam if they cooperate with Vietnamese telcos which have the license to provide the services.

Also, foreign service providers can set up servers in Vietnam if they cooperate with the Vietnamese telcos which have the license to provide internet-based text and voice services, under Vietnamese commitments in international treaties and the regulations on foreign investment stipulated in the Telecommunication Law.

As such, Viber will have to cooperate with a Vietnamese telco to be able to provide Viber Out service in Vietnam. It will also have to respect the regulations on the service-charge management which are applied to traditional telecom services. And it will be responsible for quality control in accordance with Vietnamese standards.

Also under the draft circular, Viber will be able to cooperate with fixed and mobile terrestrial telecom service providers to provide internet-based voice services to mobile subscribers in Vietnam.

"While Vietnamese companies provide telecom services have to strictly follow Vietnamese laws, pay tax and fulfill many other duties, foreign OTT firms are providing services on the country’s broadband infrastructure and do not have to undertake any obligations," a senior executive of a large mobile network in Vietnam said.

"This creates an unhealthy playing field for players, threatens the development of domestic businesses and affects national security,” he added.

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