Over the next six months, Vietnam will adjust nearly all of its area codes within the country. First announced in 2016, under the Ministry of Information and Communication’s (MIC) Decision No. 2036/QD-BTTT, gradual implementation of these changes come as part of a concerted effort by Vietnamese authorities to enhance cohesion with global best practices set out by the International Telecommunications Union.
Currently, Vietnamese area codes range from one to three digits and lack in a clearly defined system of organization. Under the updated structure, all area codes outside of Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, and its financial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, will be standardized to three digits in length. Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi will be shifted to area codes of two digits, away from their current one digit codes. In addition to standardizing length, all area codes will now start with the number two, opposed to the prevailing area code classification which allows for any number.
For those living or traveling in Vietnam, or Vietnamese based investors routinely coordinating with partners outside of Vietnam over the phone, it will be important to understand how and when area codes will change and the correct number at which differing parties may be reached.
Understanding the rollout of area code adjustments
The rollout for adjustments will be split into three stages. The first of these, impacting smaller provinces throughout the country, was started on 11 February and will continue through 14 April. During the first 30 days from 11 February, both the new area code and the old area code will work interchangeably with existing phone numbers. Following the first 30 days, callers will no longer be able to call using old numbers but instead will be prompted to use new area codes via a prerecorded message.
The second and third stages of the rollout will begin on 15 April and 17 June respectively and will follow the same structure as the first stage outlined above. For the majority of foreign investors, situated in Vietnam’s capital or Ho Chi Minh City, the third stage, running from 17 June to 31 August, will be the stage which will impact their cities. During this or other periods, local officials will be actively monitoring the rollout, in conjunction with the Ministry of Information and Communication, and will be available should any parties have questions or concerns.
The full list of area code adjustments to be implemented in Vietnam
Under the MIC’s Decision, a full list of areas to be impacted by adjustments has been released. Please see below for a stage by state timetable covering all of these juristictions:
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