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  • Internet Access Fees Reduced Sharply in Vietnam
  • January 22, 1999 (HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam) -- Internet access fees in Vietnam were recently reduced by up to 50 percent as compared to the pricing levels in 1998.
    The new fee for Internet access between 11pm and 7am is VND180 (1.25 cents) a minute for government officials and VND200 (1.4 cents) for others. And the new access fee between 7am and 11pm is VND250 (1.75 cents) for government officials and VND290 (just over 2 cents) a minute for others.

    Installation fees also have been slashed. The access installation fee was reduced to VND270,000 (US$19.20) as compared to the previous price of VND450,000 (US$32.10). The monthly subscription fee is set at VND32,000 (US$2.28) for government officials and 45,000(US$3.21) for others. All the quoted fees exclude the new value-added tax (VAT) of 10 percent, effective as of Jan. 1.

    Truong Dinh Anh, Internet manager of the Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology (FPT), said that the previous prices were up to six times higher than regional averages, making them among the highest in the world.

    "It was really a paradox, because Vietnam has a per capita income of just US$200 a year, one of the lowest levels in the world," Anh said.

    The lower Internet access fees should help the development of the country's information technology industry, according to Bob Hughes, chief of Hewlett-Packard Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City.

    "This is good news for now, but it remains inadequate," said Bui Phuong Van, assistant to the general manager of IBM Vietnam. "The government should promote free Internet access at schools," she added.

    An Internet center for young people was launched recently in Ho Chi Minh City, and it attracted around 300 members.

    "We call it the Internet Club and we hope to provide young people who are interested in science and information technology with necessary facilities," said Le Chi Thanh, director of the HCMC Youth Cultural House, where the Internet center is housed. All the members of the Internet Club will enjoy free Internet services, Thanh added.

    Nguyen Anh Tuan, manager of Vietnam Data Corp.'s Value-Added Service Center, said he expects the number of Vietnam's Internet subscribers to double in 1999.

    (David Tran, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

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    Updated: Thu Jan 21 14:19:33 1999 PDT