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​Vietnamese mobile carriers allow users to send photo online to complete account registration

Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 15:11 GMT+7
​Vietnamese mobile carriers allow users to send photo online to complete account registration
A woman has her portrait taken at a Viettel store in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s mobile carriers are allowing subscribers to submit their portraits online to complete account registration, as per a new regulation taking effect later this month, instead of the widely condemned option of doing so by physically visiting a store.

Under Government Decree 49, coming into effect on April 24, all mobile subscribers in Vietnam have to register for an account with accurate information, including their name, ID number and a portrait.

While users have long been required to register for a mobile account using their real personal information, few have completed the photo requirement.

Subscribers now have less than a fortnight to submit their portraits, or risk having their accounts blocked from making phone calls or sending messages.

All mobile carriers in the Southeast Asian country have previously been criticized for insisting that users complete the photo-taking task at their stores and offering no option to do it via the Internet.

Subscribers have questioned regulators as to why mobile carriers still need that extra photo when they have already submitted a scanned copy of their ID card, which includes a photo, during registration.

People have also whined that it is a waste of time for them to skip work to visit transaction spots of the mobile companies to have their photos taken.

People are seen at a Mobifone outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
People are seen at a Mobifone outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

In the wake of such a groundswell of criticism, leading carriers said on Monday that users can now do it online or via their respective apps.

Vinaphone said besides visiting its stores to complete registration, users can send their photos via email, cskh@vnpt.vn, or using the company’s app, MyVinaphone.

The mobile carrier also said on its verified Facebook page that subscribers can send all required information, including a scanned copy of their ID card and portraits, via the social network’s messaging feature to complete registration.

Similarly, Mobifone subscribers can either visit the company's transaction spots countrywide, or add their photos via its website, while Viettel asserted that users can do so via its app, My Viettel.

The military-run Viettel will put together mobile working teams to assist customers, especially the elders who have difficulty visiting its stores.

New SIM cards of different mobile carriers are seen in this photo taken in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
New SIM cards of different mobile carriers are seen in this photo taken in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Requiring users to register for a mobile account with accurate personal information plus their portraits is meant to help customers protect their mobile phone numbers and allow the network carriers to better manage their data and fight against improperly-registered SIM cards, according to regulators.

SIM cards used to be as easy to buy as candy in Vietnam, enabling individuals and organizations to effortlessly bombard others with spam text messages.

While subscribers support the tightened rule on mobile account management, they demand that mobile carriers find ways to make the registration as easy and convenient as possible.

As the April 24 deadline is drawing near, mobile carriers have been notifying their users of the new rules and urging them to complete registration in time.

A man has his portrait taken at a Vinaphone store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A man has his portrait taken at a Vinaphone store in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A Vinaphone call center employee told Tuoi Tre News on Monday that only subscribers who receive a reminder message should be worried about their account registration.

“If you don’t receive this message, it means your account is adequately registered and you don’t need to take any further step,” she said.

Asked how Government Decree 49 will affect foreign subscribers who reside in Vietnam, the Vinaphone employee told Tuoi Tre News that they are supposed to register using information on their passport, and “have to take the photo as per regulations.”

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Son Luong / TUOI TRE NEWS

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