Vietnam to launch internet phone services near China

Vietnam will open IP phone-to-phone services in the areas bordering China in 2008, according to local newspaper Vietnam Investment Review, quoted by a Xinhua News report.

The new service will encourage residents in remote areas to access phone services at lower costs, the report said.

Vietnam launched international computer-to-computer and computer-to-phone services five years ago to combat illegal international IP phone card sales, but did not open phone-to-phone services given that they would reduce local operators' revenues, it added.

Vietnam has already allowed operators to provide cordless fixed phone services which are cheaper than mobile phone services, said Le Nam Thang, Vietnamese deputy minister of Information and Communications, the report said.

According to the ministry, there are over one million phone subscribers in seven Vietnamese border provinces. The services offered in the provinces are for both Vietnamese and Chinese residents, the report said.