On 06 October 2021, the Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications ("MIC") submitted to the Government an application proposing for the promulgation of a Law amending and supplementing several articles of the Law on Telecommunications ("Revised Law").

At the moment, the Revised Law is only in the drafting stage, with the following notable proposed amendments:

1.         Expanding the scope of regulation of the Law on Telecommunications

The scope of regulation of the Law on Telecommunications will be expanded to regulate the operation of data centers, IoT connectivity, digital connection identifiers, management of telecommunications business including data center and IaaS services, with the following provisions:

  • Regulations on the storage, shared use, and sharing of data on telecommunications infrastructure; regulations on the shared use of data centers in some cases;
  • Regulations on QoS in relation to the establishment of data centers and the provision of IaaS services, the connection of telecommunications network with data centers;
  • Regulations on standard form contracts; regulations on the responsibilities of telecommunications enterprises and IaaS service providers in ensuring service quality; and regulations on the storage and transmission of data on telecommunications networks.

2.         Amending policies and regulations to create opportunities for MVNO enterprises

According to MIC's impact evaluation, the market access opportunities of MVNO enterprises in Vietnam are still limited. MVNOs still have to compete fiercely with MNOs in terms of service prices due to disagreements on wholesale prices, which prevents MVNOs' services from reaching consumers (subscribers).

The provisions of the current Telecommunications Law are also inconsistent with the Competition Law in terms of determining competitive markets and competition management measures, resulting in difficulties in assessing the dominant market position / significant market power (SMP).

To improve this situation, the MIC proposes regulations related to the wholesale market as follows:

  • Telecommunications enterprises when creating and providing telecommunications services shall ensure that the wholesale prices offered to other enterprises are not higher than the retail prices of corresponding services provided by themselves.
  • An enterprise with a dominant position in the market of important retail services that demands State management over competition shall be responsible for providing wholesale services to enterprises in need of such services.

3.         Amending telecommunications licensing regulations

The telecommunications licensing process will be modified according to international practices with 03 different forms of licensing depending on the level of risk, including Individual license, Class license/General Authorization, and Open entry. This approach is recommended by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and has been applied by many countries around the world.

In addition, the MIC also proposes to modify the conditions regarding legal capital for the granting of the License to establish a network. The monetary investment commitment is also suggested to be replaced with commitments on network and service deployment.

4.         Amending policies on the management and development of satellite communication services

The MIC proposes to amend and supplement policies on the management and development of satellite communication services with the following provisions:

  • Regulations to internalize international commitments, for example, by prescribing foreign satellite service providers, when providing such services in Vietnam, shall engage in a cooperation agreement with domestic telecommunications service providers or enter into joint ventures with other telecommunications service providers licensed in Vietnam, etc.
  • Regulations on the provision of satellite services to individuals, who are not business customers, at sea and the licensing of telecommunications business in ethnic minority areas.
  • Principles and regulations on the management of information via satellite; regulations on the provision of cross-border services using low-altitude satellites to users in Vietnam; regulations on the authority of the State management agencies in requesting the provision of information about users or handling infringing information.