Vietnam puts SIM-card dealers under control

September 22, 2023 | 07:06 am GMT+7

The serious measures applied by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) have begun showing an effect. The trade of ‘junk’ simcards and ready-activated simcards has reduced considerably.


Observers said that in many cases, simcard agents hire people to register a SIM with their own information, then activate the sim to re-sell to other users. MIC has had working sessions with telecom carriers and asked them to stop the violation.

The view of MIC is that only when strictly developing subscribers and controlling them will ‘junk’ and unauthorized simcards disappear from the market. The ministry has threatened to suspend mobile network operators’ development by 3-12 months depending on the violation level, if it discovers that ‘junk’ simcards are still selling everywhere.

Telcos, feeling the pressure from MIC, have to tighten control over the sale of simcards through sales agents. This was described as a "strong dose" of medicine which can cure the "chronic disease" of the telecommunication market.

The policy has brought prompt efforts as simcard sale agents have come into line.

VietNamNet carried out a mini survey at 20 simcard sales agents in eight districts in Hanoi and found that nine out of 20 agents still traded ‘junk’ and ready-activated simcards, which accounted for 45 percent of surveyed agents.

At the remaining 11 out of 20 transaction points, or 55 percent of surveyed agents, the owners refused to sell ‘junk’ simcards when buyers asked about the simcards. Some sales agents told customers that they stopped selling new simcards because the telecos have blocked the activation.

After surveying sales agents at four best known retail chains, namely FPT Shop, The Gioi Di Dong, Hoang Ha Mobile and CellphoneS, VietNamNet found that all four retailers sold only authentic simcards with information registered by real owners. They were not selling ready-activated sim.

Together with the service providing points set by telcos, these are prestigious simcard distribution channels encouraged by MIC. About 20 percent of total simcards put into circulation go through the two channels.

However, though the situation has improved, ‘junk’ cards still exist and users can buy these simcards.

VietNamNet reporters could easily buy ready-activated simcards of famous telcos such as Viettel, MobiFone, VNPT VinaPhone, Vietnamobile, and MNVOs (mobile virtual network operators) such as Local and Wintel.

Asked if there were data sims which could be used immediately without having to register, the owner of an agent on Luong Khanh Thien street in Hoang Mai street said there were some sims from two famous telecom carriers available. He recommended using services of the three big networks which have higher quality.