Vietnam has proposed allowing direct foreign investment in telecom operators.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) wants foreign investors granted permission to own up to 30% of the capital of a telecoms company, reportedVietNamNet Bridge.
The MIC will submit the proposed change to the Telecommunications Law to the cabinet in August.
Foreign investors are currently restricted to entering the market through a Business Co-operation Contract (BCC), which is essentially a profit-sharing arrangement with the local telco partner, or joint venture arrangement.
Vietnam has seven mobile operators, including state-owned MobiFone and VinaPhone, Viettel, which is owned by the military, and EVN Telecom owned by the Electricity of Vietnam Group.
Russia’s VimpelCom owns a 40% stake in the JV behind that operates GSM startup Beeline, and Hutchison is a partner in Hutchison Vietnam, while SK Telecom ceded control of CDMA operator S-Fone to partner Saigon Postel in April.
Vietnam has until 2012 to open up its telecom market to foreign investment under its World Trade Organisation obligations.