Illustration by Đàm Minh Chí The first mobile network operator in Việt Nam was established in April 1993 and to the majority of Vietnamese at that time, a mobile phone was something very new and luxurious. Only VIPs or rich people could afford a mobile phone which cost about US$1,000, despite the phones looking like bricks with very few functions. Subscribers had to pay about $200 as an activation fee, about $30 for a monthly subscription fee and $0.3 per minute to make a call within Hà Nôi or HCM City. Interprovincial call tariffs were higher. Now in my thirties, I find the story about the history of the mobile phone in Việt Nam interesting but strange and even funny because around me, every day, mobile phones are present and very popular. People, even kids in disadvantaged remote areas, now can access and use mobile phones, not to mention those in cities and urban … [Read more...] about Mobiles too popular to be subject to ‘luxury’ tax
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Illustration by Trịnh Lập By An Phương Though school regulations do not allow students to use mobile phones in classes, I’ve seen many cases, including my nephews, carrying smartphones and using them publicly in schools. Mobile phones, especially smartphones, have become an essential part of our daily lives. I can’t imagine going one day without touching my iPhone, as I need to make calls, reply to messages, draft emails, and scroll my social feeds. Of course, I’m already an adult. I first had my phone about 10 years ago when I was 16, and I felt okay with having it at that age. However, I believe that’s not the case these days as even my 10-year-old nephew has asked his father for a phone. That’s why when I noticed the topic of phones in schools, I had mixed feelings as to whether mobile phones are beneficial or distracting for students. I spoke with four people, two of them four or five years … [Read more...] about Should students use mobile phones in schools?
Making a suggestion to the Ministry of Finance’s plan to increase sources of revenue, the HCM City People’s Committee proposed levying a luxury tax on mobile phones, cosmetics and perfume. “If the idea comes true, Vietnam will become the first country in the world to impose a luxury tax on mobile phones,” one commenter said on an Internet forum. Nguyen Thanh Binh from the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s (MPI) Institute for Policies and Development also said the idea needs thorough consideration, saying that this taxation is not applied in developed or developing countries, or countries in Southeast Asia. Truong Ba Tuan, head of the Institute of Information Policy Strategy, said that South Africa imposes a luxury tax on mobile phones, but the policy faces strong opposition. As for cosmetics, Tuan said, luxury taxes are applied in some countries, including Thailand and Indonesia, while most developed countries don’t tax products. SCT, by nature, … [Read more...] about Will mobile phones bear a luxury tax?
Bui Mai Phuong is an avid online shopper, ordering anything from clothing to personal-care products from her smartphone. But she prefers to pay with cash. She is among hundreds of millions of people whom firms such as Softbank Group-backed Grab and China’s Tencent want to win over as they try to tap into Southeast Asia’s burgeoning internet sector. More than 70 percent of the region’s 600 million-plus people do not use banks - higher than the global average of about 30 percent - and e-commerce is projected to hit $88 billion by 2025. But convincing consumers like Phuong, who lives in Hanoi, could be tricky. “I have never tried using mobile payments because I don’t know how to use it and it seems a bit complicated to use,” said Phuong, 36, a manager at a construction material supplier in Vietnam. Mobile payments are ubiquitous in China; a consumer can spend a day without using cash at all in Beijing or Shanghai, and even some beggars accept mobile … [Read more...] about Mobile payment firms struggle to dethrone cash in Southeast Asia
People provide information at a MobiFone's outlet Aiming to strictly control the country’s subscribers and prevent “trash” SIMs, Viettel, MobiFone, and Vinaphone have requested all Vietnamese subscribers to submit their portraits before April 24. If any subscribers do not submit portraits, they will be dealt under the Decision No.49/2017/ND-CP. However, this requirement roused concerns as people registered their phone numbers by their identification cards, which would make submitting a photo unnecessary. Tamas Bay Nguyen, a foreigner living in Vietnam and using the MobiFone mobile network, told VIR that submitting a portrait should not be necessary because he has already submitted his passport (which already has a clear photo for identification) to register in the first place. According to the latest report of the Telecommunications Department, as of this year's March 15, only four million out of the 38 million mobile subscribers updated their full information … [Read more...] about “Asinine” request by mobile networks send subscribers into frenzy