MVNO license awarded in Vietnam to local fintech company

MVNO license awarded in Vietnam to local fintech company, Digilife Vietnam Digital Services – a company under VNLife’s fintech company VNPAY

Digilife Vietnam Digital Services Co., Ltd, a company under VNLife’s fintech company VNPAY, has received a license to establish mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service across Vietnam.

Digilife was awarded the license number 63/GP-CVT from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) – to provide telecommunications services without its own network – from (license date): March 31, 2022. The license is valid until March 31, 2032.

Founded in 2007, VNPAY is the forerunner of VNLIFE’s subsidiaries. is a financial technology (Fintech) and service company, providing electronic payment solutions in Vietnam. The company offers mobile banking, phone recharge, and bill payment solutions and services for more several Vietnamese banks, telecommunications companies, and e-commerce businesses.

VNPAY’s apps sees 15 million+ monthly active consumers transfer money, pay bills, top up mobile credits, book bus tickets, or shop for groceries, according to VNLife. The company also runs VNPay-QR, an interoperable cashless payment network that serves 22 million users and over 150,000 merchants.

In 2019, VNLife reportedly received $300 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund and Singapore state fund GIC, but did not disclose the information at the time. In July 2021, it raised more than US$250 million in a series B funding round co-led by US investors General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group.

With these investments, VNLife secured its position as Vietnam’s second billion-dollar unicorn.

Three active MVNOs and one more on its way?

With the MVNO license awarded to Digilife Vietnam Digital Services, there are now four MVNO licenses awarded in Vietnam, with a fifth on its way?

After earlier attempts in 2009 from Indochina Telecom and Vietnam Multimedia Corporation (VTC), to launch licensed MVNOs in the Vietnamese market had failed – due to lack of network access from the mobile network – a structural reform through market liberalization and pro-competition regulations, paved the way for new MVNO entries in the country of 97.3 million people and 146 million mobile connections.

MVNO Itel (Indochina Telecom)

In April 2019, Indochina Telecom Joint Stock Company, operating the brand name Itel, became the first MVNO to launch in Vietnam, Itel launched its service using the network of Vinaphone – a subsidiary state-owned Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT).

Itel initial service packages was designed to fit the segments of low income earners, students and factory workers.

After the launch of Itel, Nguyen Phong Nha, Deputy General Director of the MIC’s Authority of Telecommunications said. “The MVNO model will help save investment costs for businesses and avoid waste of resources as unused traffic and infrastructure of MNOs can be utilized by MVNOs that do not have their own infrastructure.”

MVNO Reddi

On the 3rd of June 2020, Reddi, operated by Mobicast JSC, followed and launched its MVNO operation in Vietnam, also using the infrastructure of VNPT.

Masan Group Corporation, one of the three largest private sector companies in Vietnam (in terms of market capitalization), acquired 70% of Mobicast JSC in September, 2021, for a total cash payment of VND295.5 billion ($13 million).

Masan Group’s entry into the telecommunication sector was to lay the foundation to digitalize Masan’s platforms and build a unified offline-to-online (O2O) products and services solution ecosystem, by unifying its consumer base with the MVNO.

MVNO Local

In May 2021, the MVNO Local, developed by ASIM Telecom became the third MVNO in the market. Local provides 4G data SIM products from MobiFone.

Local’s 4G SIMs are covering all 63 provinces and cities with a maximum specified speed of 150/50 Mbps (download/upload).

The next MVNO to launch in Vietnam

The next MVNO to could very well be FPT Retail. In its 2022 general meeting of shareholders, FPT Digital Joint Stock Company (FPT Retail) was said to be planning a MVNO business in Vietnam.

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan’s expertise includes the development and execution of growth strategies, market insights, trends and opportunities, new business models and strategies
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