Under the impact of the regulation to stop importing 2G and 3G phones from July 1, 2021, the number of 2G feature phones is anticipated to decrease by 70% by 2022.
According to Circular No. 43/2020/TT-BTTTT of the Ministry of Information and Technology, from July1 mobile communication terminals manufactured and imported into Vietnam must support 4G or higher technology.
All retailers, manufacturers, and distributors have confirmed that they had fully understood the information and had business plans in compliance with the law.
Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo all said that they were not affected by this circular because their smartphones use 4G technology or higher.
But some companies such as HMD Global (which owns the Nokia brand), Itel, Masstel and Mobell that supply the majority of feature phones to the market will be affected by this regulation.
Ho Hoang Nguyen Vu, representative of Itel distributor, said that both the distributor and the manufacturer Itel have adjusted their business plans to suit the Vietnamese Government’s policy.
Specifically, the company will stop importing products that only support 2G and 3G after July 1. But the current number of imported products is still enough for the market until the end of 2021 because 2G and 3G are still active.
“However, next year, because only 4G phones are used, the number of 2G feature phones of Itel may fall by 70% compared to the present,” Vu said.
Itel is among the top three importers of feature phones in Vietnam. Most of these phones are priced below 500,000 VND, supporting 2G network connection. Particularly, the model that supports 4G is priced at 700,000 VND.
Vu said his firm would import 4G smartphones at more reasonable prices to meet customer needs.
Meanwhile, some smartphone firms are not affected by the new regulations.
Nguyen The Kha – FPT Shop’s manager of mobile telecommunications products – said that 2G/3G phones are still operating normally after July 1 (until new instructions are issued). Therefore, this system will ensure the provision of 2G/3G products for the whole next year. At the same time, this chain plans to promote sales of 4G smartphones to gradually replace 2G/3G phones in the future.
Meanwhile, CellphoneS says that it sells a small number of feature phones, so the above regulation does not affect its business plan.
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the ban on import of 2G and 3G devices aims to stop the use of terrestrial mobile technology (2G, 3G), promoting smartphone users to move towards a digital society.
Along with restricting the use of old mobile devices, the Ministry has developed a public-utility telecommunications program for the 2021-2025 period, under which 2.1 million smartphones will be given free to poor and near-poor households nationwide.
The Ministry plans to stop the use of outdated terrestrial mobile technology (2G, 3G) as early as 2022 with a suitable roadmap. By September 2024, when the current licenses for mobile telecommunications services expire, the Ministry will not renew the license to use radio frequency bands using 2G/3G technology.
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