The equitisation of Vietnam Mobile Telecom Services Company, which operates under the MobiFone brand, is set to move ahead after stalling during the stock market slump which followed the 2008 global financial crisis. MobiFone and Vinaphone are both owned by state-run national PTO Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications (VNPT), which has been ordered to restructure its operations to increase competition in the market. The Saigon Times cites Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang as saying that while the government has ordered that both brands must be maintained, VNPT cannot hold more than 20% of two companies operating in the same market. Earlier this year, a proposal by VNPT to merge MobiFone and Vinaphone was rejected by the government, which is aiming to retain at least three major players in the mobile sector, and as such MobiFone will now proceed with its delayed equitisation plans. Between them, the two firms controlled almost half of the country’s 127.6 million cellular subscribers at the end of June 2013, according to figures from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, while another state-backed firm, Viettel, leads the market with approximately 42% of all wireless customers.
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