Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communications has unveiled a VND10 trillion (US$435 million) relief package benefiting customers of seven telecom service providers.
Seven service providers, including Viettel, VNPT, MobiFone, CMC, FPT, Vietnamobile, and SCTV, have unanimously agreed to provide a relief package with a combined value of VND10 trillion, which will be rolled out this Thursday and last for three months, according to the ministry.
The package is intended to benefit service users affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry added.
Customers of the seven service providers will get their Internet bandwidth doubled for an unchanged price, which will improve their experience in online learning and working from home.
Internet access to the official website of the Ministry of Health, as well as contact tracing application BlueZone, will be free of charge and automatically upgraded to high speed.
The data allowance for most subscription packages will be increased by a half with no price change, while other data bundles, namely VX3 and VX7, will get a discount of up to 50 percent.
Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone — the three biggest telcos in Vietnam — also vowed to donate VND5,000 ($0.2) to Vietnam's national coronavirus vaccine fund for each sign-up or renewal of VX3 or VX7 data package.
Meanwhile, customers in locales placed under the prime minister's Directive No. 16 will receive a complimentary 50 minutes of on-net calls.
Directive No. 16 includes the closure of non-essential businesses and services, a stay-home order, a ban on gatherings larger than two people, a minimum two-meter distance between people, and the suspension of public transport.
Besides the mentioned relief policies, Viettel, VNPT, FPT, and CMC are also joining hands with the Ministry of Information and Communications to launch 17 new platforms that support residents in COVID-19 prevention and control, which is valued at VND2 trillion ($87 million) in aggregate.
Minister Nguyen Manh Hung has extended thanks to the service providers and digital companies in Vietnam for their contribution to the country's combat against the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We will overcome the pandemic and come out of it in a 'new normal' state with a strong digitization movement," Hung stated.
It is estimated that domestic telcos have distributed VND23 trillion ($1 billion) to Vietnamese residents in the form of service fee waivers and support packages, with Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone administering VND21 trillion ($914 million.)
Since the fourth COVID-19 wave began in Vietnam on April 27, the country has detected 161,482 community transmissions in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities.
The Southeast Asian country has overall logged 165,339 patients, including 46,965 recoveries and 1,881 deaths, since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit it on January 23, 2020.
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