Viettel, Vietnam's largest mobile carrier by subscriber base, on October 6 asked the Information and Communications Ministry (MIC) to allow it to apply the same tariff on intra-network and inter-network calls.

This is the second time the mobile carrier asked MIC for permission to apply the same tariff. The company made the same proposal last July to attract more subscribers.

Under its proposal, Viettel will cut tariffs on calls of Viettel subscribers to other networks by 21.6 percent to match the tariffs on calls within the Viettel network.

"Revenue from the mobile connection fee currently accounts for seven percent of our total revenue, and if we applied the same tariff on intra-network and inter-network calls, the revenue will be reduced by an extra 1.5 percent," said Le Dang Dung, the Viettel vice general director.

"However, we hope the new tariffs will help our subscribers manage their bills more easily. Our revenue will be reduced in the beginning, but in the long term, we hope the lower tariffs will attract more subscribers to the network," Dung added.

According to Viettel, the tariff cut will also help it to cope with new trends in the mobile telecommunications industry, which is focusing more on 3G Internet-based services or over-the-counter (OTT) services rather than regular calls.

Last July, Pham Hong Hai, Director of MIC's Telecommunications Department, said the ministry would ask Viettel to submit details of the production costs of its telecommunications services. Based on that report, the ministry will decide on Viettel's request.

A source close to MIC revealed that the country's two veteran mobile carriers, Vinaphone and MobiFone, have yet to respond to their competitor's request regarding tarrifs.

Earlier this year, MobiFone separated from the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group, which also manages Vinaphone. The separation means calls between MobiFone and Vinaphone are no longer intra-network.

While the Vietnamese telecommunications market has grown rapidly, Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone still maintain a monopoly, with a total annual turnover of 5.5 billion USD last year.

Vietnam has around 20 million 3G subscribers among more than 130 million mobile cellphone users, according to MIC.-VNA