The telecommunications quality has been improved significantly over the last year, according to the latest annual quality audit released by the Ministry of Information and Communications.

Head of the Ministry's Telecoms Administration Pham Hong Hai said new players, including Vietnamobile which ranked first in seven of the report's nine criteria, have continued their impressive run from 2010 while the large companies continue to grow.

In general, telecomunications quality of the network providers this year is better than last year, said Hai.

There are now seven mobiphone providers joining Vietnam's telecoms market including Mobifone, Vinaphone, military-run Viettel, Vietnamobile, EVN Telecoms, Beeline and S-Fone.

According to the annual audit, the results show an increasingly competitive market with new operators improving service quality and challenging larger firms to retain clients.

Larger network operators Viettel, Mobifone, VinaPhone, Vietnamobile and EVN surpassed the ministry's set levels of service in key criteria such as the call drop rate (CDR), where Vietnamobile scored 0 percent, making it the only network operator with zero dropped calls.

Viettel and Mobifone registered a 0.23 percent CDR, lower than the industry standard of 0.5 percent, followed by EVN at 1.35 percent and Vinaphone 1.43 percent.

Viettel grabbed the top score in speech quality with 3.94 points, followed by Mobifone with 3.8, Vietnamobile with 3.67, Vinaphone with 3.64 and EVN with 3 points.

Viettel led the network availability rate, registering an above-standard 99.995 percent followed by Vietnamobile with 99.951 percent, Vinaphone 99.871 percent, Mobifone 99.832 percent and EVN 99.6 percent.

According to the report, customer service rates had also improved with Vietnamobile the only network operator registering 0 percent customer complaint, which is calculated by number of complaints per 100 subscribers every 3 months.

Vietnamobile registered the highest successful call rate with 99.60 percent and with the highest billing accuracy, with zero mistakes, and other operators achieved scores above Ministry standards.

Discussing the test results, an industry expert referred to the tough competition in the mobile market over the last few years as a key factor in forcing established operators to improve their service quality to draw customers.

High-quality service was seen as vital for new players to earn a market share, as smaller operators have achieved.

The expert also believed that competing with network quality and customer care will continue to be strong trends in coming years, instead of the price-based approach that had previously dominated competition in the market.

Vietnam's mobile telecommunication market has undergone major changes since new foreign-backed operators had begun to compete. While holding a modest portion of the market, these operators have challenged the established heavyweights in changing service and customer care standards.

Customers benefit the most from this new surge in competition, however experts predict the smaller companies will continue to grow with aggressive approaches to gaining market share.

The Ministry's results have not singled out a leading network operator, but have indicated which operators are leading in certain categories.

Hai said the results showed how individual carriers were performing, but also the state of the mobile network in general, which was doing very well./.