After years of subscriber growth of as high as 200% per annum, Vietnam's telecom market is showing real signs of saturation.
The signals have been visible since mid last year. Saturation was expected, but has come surprisingly fast.
Subscriber growth is stagnating in the fixed, mobile and broadband sectors. For the first time, the number of new broadband accounts signed in March was less than the number from the previous month.
Mobile operators including EVN Telecom are also having trouble attracting the interest of investors.
Subscriber growth rate: standing still
According to data from the General Office of Statistics, the total number of new telephone accounts was around 3 million in the first quarter this year – equal to the figure in the same period last year.
The 2.98 million mobile subscribers and 23,800 fixed telephone subscribers represented just 31.2% and 3.7% respectively of the total new subscribers signed in the same quarter last year.
The country’s total telephony subscribers grew to 174.1 million by the end of March, a year-on-year increase of 28.2%. There were 157.6 million mobile subscribers and 16.5 million fixed telephone subscribers. The number of mobile subscribers increased by 31.9% year-on-year, while fixed telephone customers grew 1.1% over the same period.
The number of new mobile subscribers increased in December but then decreased with the same volume in the following month, while the total number of mobile subscribers by the end of March stayed unchanged from the January figure. Total new fixed subscribers have also stayed flat for three consecutive months this year.