Viettel has asked the Ministry of Information and Communications for a license to provide cable TV service, said Nguyen Manh Hung, deputy general director of the military-run telecom firm.
He was speaking at a review conference held by the information ministry in Hanoi this Monday. This is the first time Viettel has voiced its proposal for the cable TV service license since it applied in February.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Tran Duc Lai said the ministry was considering submitting it to the Government for approval.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said the information ministry should promptly support enterprises in need of providing new services. If feeling unsure about licensing these services immediately, the ministry could allow enterprises to pilot the services in one or two years and then make adjustments to the policies, he suggested.
He asked the ministry to report on this case no later than February 2013.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Bac Son said the ministry would reply on the cable TV service license for Viettel in the next two months.
Pay TV is considered a very potential market because there are now only four million subscribers over 20 million households across the country. This is why Viettel, FPT and AVG have applied for cable TV service licenses.
In response to this move, the Vietnam Pay Television Association, VCTV and SCTV have sent a petition to the information ministry and the Central Commission for Propaganda and Education seeking a halt to licensing new cable TV service providers.
Decision 20 of the Prime Minister on management of pay TV specifies that cable TV service providers must have their own telecom infrastructure or use infrastructure of other firms under business agreements. Based on this condition, there are still chances for those currently applying for licenses to provide cable TV service.
There are now 47 cable TV service providers nationwide, including many small and weak ones. The strict regulations on licensing are aimed to filter out the competent enterprises, ensuring sustainable development of the market in the long term.
The Saigon Times Daily