Vietnam toughening up on OTT?

Vietnam is weighing up whether to harden its stance on over-the-top (OTT) messaging services, including Viber, Whatsapp and Vietnamese app Line.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has stated that the government has yet to finalise a policy, but state media has reported that free OTT services could face a full ban due to the threat that they pose to the revenues of mobile operators.

A spokesperson for the country’s largest operator Viettel stated: “We will lose 40-50 per cent of our revenue if all of our 40 million customers use Viber instead of traditional call and text.”

If it decides to ban free OTT services, Vietnam would follow in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom recently banned Viber, but its objection was due to security concerns rather than financial ones as the app proved too difficult to monitor.

NHN Vietnam – which produced the Line app – considers a ban unlikely. “The government has more options, like cooperation between OTT and network providers,”  said CEO Jong Buhm Park.


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