SIM cards issued before August 1 that have not been activated will be recalled by the end of this month in order to ease a numbers crunch, leading mobile phone service providers have said.

They will also recall SIM cards that have been activated but have not generated any outgoing calls and messages since August 1.

According to the two leading mobile phone service providers in the country, Vinaphone and MobiFone, SIM cards that were issued and allocated to dealers before August 1 will expire in December 30.

"As many as 100,000 SIM cards of our network that have been allocated to dealers are still unsold" a Vinaphone representative said.

He said the recall announcement has already been sent to its dealers nationwide.

Meanwhile, MobiFone said its network has 200,000 SIM cards that have been issued but not activated.

According to the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), which owns both Vinaphone and MobiFone, of its 75.5 million mobile phone subscribers nationwide, only 46 million generate outgoing calls and messages.

Furthermore, as many as 5.5 million subscribers have been locked by service providers because of unpaid telecom bills. All these SIM cards will also be recalled later.

New mobile subscriptions in Vietnam have skyrocketed in recent years, reaching 19 million in 2006, 25 million in 2007, 74 million in 2008, 98 million in 2009 and 134 million by the end of 2013.

Data from the Vietnam 2013 White Book on information and communications technologies released on September 16 by the Ministry of Information and Communications showed Viettel commanded a 40.05 percent of Vietnam's mobile subscriptions.

VNPT subsidiaries MobiFone and Vinaphone ranked second and third with 21.4 percent and 19.88 percent. The remaining market share was occupied by Vietnamobile and GMobile with 10.74 percent and 3.93 percent, respectively.-VNA