Telco gets go-ahead for pay-TV

Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 16:17

FPT and Viettel Telecom Companies join paid TV market.—Photo quantrimang
HA NOI (Biz Hub) — The Ministry of Information and Communication yesterday issued a licence to FPT Telecoms to provide a paid TV service in Viet Nam, despite strong opposition from the Viet Nam Pay Television Association.

The company will offer a digital, cable TV service nationwide and make analogue cable TV service available around the country except for eight cities and provinces, including Ha Noi and HCM City.

This is the second telecoms company to join the paid TV market, after Viettel Telecoms received its licence in April.

In April, the Viet Nam Pay Television Association petitioned the Government to prevent FPT Telecom and Viettel from being issued with licences to provide cable TV services, stating that its presence would make the competition too fierce.

However, industry insiders say that Viettel has the upper hand in cable infrastructure, in comparison with the other current industry players and that its entry into the market was a fait competition.

Customers watch a news programme on air. FPT Telecoms has been licensed to provide a paid TV service in Viet Nam. VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Hai

An industry expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said Viettel already has 200,000km of optical cable, which covers 95 per cent of the country's communes. It also had 25,000 technical staff – a number that overwhelmed its competitors.

"With these advantages, Viettel would only need a few years to build up its own cable TV network, other companies would need at least 10 years," said the expert.

Viettel plans to attract 5 million subscribers in its first five years, 35 per cent in urban areas and 65 per cent rural.

FPT Telecoms, founded in 1997, is a member company of the FPT Corporation. It provides telecommunications and online services in Viet Nam such as broadband internet and internet-based TV services.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Viet Nam Television (VTV), with its diverse selection of channels, held 65 per cent of the pay TV market share, of which SCTV had 32 per cent, VCTV 19 per cent and HTVC 14 per cent.

VTV has 3 million out of the 4.5 million pay TV subscribers across the country. Of these, VCTV has 1.2 million, SCTV 1.5 million and K+VTV in a joint venture with France's Canal Plus 400,000 satellite TV subscribers.

This means that VTV currently controls 70 per cent of the pay TV market share in Viet Nam. — VNS


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