The decrease came as telecom providers withdrew unregistered SIM cards as directed by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
However, the suppliers still posted high growth rates, such as Viettel Military Industry and Telecoms Group with total revenue of VND250.8 trillion (US$11.04 billion), up 9.4% year-on-year, and accumulated profits of nearly VND44 trillion (US$1.93 billion), up 12%.
Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) also pocketed VND5.01 trillion (US$220.44 million) while MobiFone’s pre-tax profits was close to VND5.6 trillion (US$246.4 million).
Last year, the companies worked to expand their networks. VNPT, for example, deployed more than 20,000 mobile stations (2G, 3G, 4G) across the country, bringing its total number to 75,000, while putting into operation many broadband submarine cable systems.
Viettel also spent six months completing its new network, reaching even remote, border and island areas with more than 36,000 4G stations.
The companies have considered the industry-IT sector a spearhead in their business strategies.
Viettel earned VND12.5 trillion (US$550 million) from research and production activities. Meanwhile, VNPT has become a strategic partner of 52 out of 63 cities and provinces nationwide in telecommunications and IT.
Apart from opportunities, 2018 is forecast to pose challenges to the domestic telecom providers’ efforts to maintain their market shares and achieve their goals in revenue and development.
Experts said telecom suppliers are expected to face fierce competition in increasing mobile subscriptions and market shares, urging they to improve service quality and revamp business methods.
They cited the service launched by the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications that allows subscribers to change the telecom providers without having to change their phone numbers.
The fourth industrial revolution, which comes with new notions like cloud computing, internet of things, artificial intelligence and big data, will also generate challenges for Vietnamese telecom suppliers, they said.
The experts, therefore, suggested telecom providers create innovation and update technologies to use the opportunities offered by the revolution.