SIM card market heats up as conversion nears

Saturday, Sep 15, 2018 09:53

Viettel has provided support to help its subscribers convert from 11-digit mobile phone numbers to 10-digit numbers. — VNS Photo

The prices of 11-digit SIM cards are surging as buyers seek to obtain phone numbers that will contain lucky numbers when tens of millions of 11-digit subscribers are switched to a 10-digit format, starting from today.

The Ministry of Information and Communications and Vietnamese mobile operators have created a mobile phone prefix division.

Specifically, the 11-digit mobile phone numbers of VinaPhone will be converted to a 10-digit mobile number with the prefix “08,” while the 11-digit numbers of MobiFone and Viettel will use the prefix “03” and “07,” respectively.

As the day of converting 11-digit into 10-digit SIM cards neared, SIM card dealers increased their speculation, buying lucky SIM cards at high prices, and pushing up SIM card prices to sky-high levels.

In Viet Nam, mobile phone subscribers want SIM cards with lucky numbers (6, 8 or 9), or repeated numbers. Some special numbers are also sought. A fortune teller might say that the number 3 is good for a businessperson, from their car licence plate to their mobile phone SIM card.

However, the number of subscribers seeking the lucky SIM cards has been modest even though the conversion is nearing.

Some big SIM card shops in Ha Noi said that as the day of converting 11-digit into 10-digit SIM cards was nearing, SIM card dealers had increased their speculation, buying lucky SIM cards at high prices. This helped dealers create a false scarcity and push up SIM card prices to sky-high levels.

Hoang Hoai Thu, a business owner, said SIM card dealers were speculating on the SIM card market. Currently, the demand for lucky SIM card had not been high.

Telecom providers ready for the conversion

Domestic telecom providers have been ready to support their subscribers in the conversion from 11-digit mobile phone number to 10-digit numbers.

Viettel Telecom earlier this week announced that it had fulfilled preparations for the switching process.

Particularly, all of its 11-digit mobile numbers beginning from 0162 to 0169 will become 10-digit numbers beginning from 032 to 039, and the change will start at 0.00 am, September 15 and finish by October 7. But customers will be able to use both new and old numbers until November 14 this year.

Viettel will also continue sending notifications in English and Vietnamese to its subscribers until June 30, 2019.

Along with Viettel, Vinaphone and Vietnam Mobile launched apps to help subscribers convert from 11-digit to 10-digit mobile phone themselves. The apps allow users to synchronise their contacts automatically.

Subscribers can use the MyViettel app for Viettel, MyVNPT for Vinaphone and MyVietnammobile for Vietnam Mobile for the conversion.

Central bank supports internet and mobile banking users

The State Bank of Viet Nam has announced that it has instructed commercial banks to develop suitable conversion plans following the Ministry of Information and Communication’s roadmap.

Internet and mobile banking users with 11-digit numbers can go to banks’ transaction offices to update their numbers.

However, the central bank asked commercial banks to develop solutions to ensure convenience for customers.

Some banks are offering support to their customers. Vietinbank allows customers to update information on its website while Vietcombank’s customers can update their new mobile phone numbers on both website and apps.

Over-the-top (OTT) applications like Zalo and Viber have announced plans to automatically convert mobile phone numbers for Vietnamese users in parallel with the conversion. — VNS

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