(Nikkei BP Group)
(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)
| 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
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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