Vietnam telecom giant to scrap roaming fees with Laos, Cambodia from 2017

The company expects to lose $1 million a month but hopes to boost connections in Indochina. Vietnam’s biggest telecom firm Viettel has announced it will abolish roaming charges between Vietnam and neighboring Cambodia and Laos, where it has also developed strong networks.

Nguyen Manh Hung, general director of the company, said that starting from next year its subscribers in the three countries will be able to phone each other at domestic call rates, local media reported. Viettel has developed the Metfone network in Cambodia and Unitel in Laos.

Hung said the initiative is to facilitate cultural and trade connections in Indochina, but the company will lose around $1 million a month.

In October last year, members of the European parliament also voted to scrap mobile roaming charges from mid-2017 to save holidaymakers among member countries from racking up massive phone bills.

ASEAN ministers of communications raised the idea of abolishing roaming fees thoughout the bloc back in 2013, but no agreement was finalized.

Besides Vietnam, Viettel operates mobile networks in ten countries in Southeast Asia, South America and Africa.

Its brand value has been estimated at $973 million by UK-based intangible asset valuation consultancy organization Brand Finance. It is ranked seventh in Southeast Asia and 93rd globally.

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