Businesses in Vietnam Must Prepare for March 1st Change in Phone Area Codes
HANOI – On March 1, Vietnam will begin switching the area codes and prefixes of phones throughout the country, both landlines and mobile phones will see their numbers changed. The new area codes will be applied to 59 out of Vietnam’s 63 provinces, excluding the provinces of Ha Giang, Vinh Phuc, Phu Tho and Hoa Binh.
Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is in charge of the changeover and will be following the guidelines laid out in Circular No. 22/2014/TT-BTTTT, issued on December 22, 2014. All new numbers will go into effect on March 1st; however, the old numbers will remain in operation for the next two years in order to provide time for businesses to make the switch over. Therefore, phone users will have time to get used to the new numbers.
The current area codes across the country range from one to three digits. The one-digit area codes are used in the country’s capital, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). The two-digit area codes are used in 37 provinces, and three-digit ones are used in the remaining 24 provinces. Starting from March of this year, the area codes in the capital and HCMC will be two-digits, 24 and 28 respectively. The other 61 provinces will use three-digit codes.
Additionally, three-digit mobile phone prefixes will be changed into two-digit ones. Thus, the new Circular will lead to a switch from 11-digit mobile numbers to ten-digit mobile numbers being used nationwide. This will affect approximately half of the nation’s mobile subscribers since they are using phones with 11-digit numbers.
Many businesses have complained of the seemingly sudden change to the area codes. These businesses will now be forced to update all of their work materials with their new contact information. The spending on such items as billboards, websites, name cards, leaflets and other marketing materials could have a sizeable short-term impact on Vietnam’s economy – a fact that has no doubt not escaped government officials.
In explanation of the changes, the government has stated that the current Vietnamese phone system is no longer able to handle the country’s fast expanding telecommunications network. Additionally, the new area codes will standardize the length of phone numbers throughout the country, thus reducing confusion and situations of misdialing.
The MIC has announced that it will ensure that all affected users will receive notification via media and other types of communication 60 days before the changes are implemented. Also, in order to ensure a smooth change-over process, the MIC will be working closely with telecommunications companies and will provide any needed technical support.
In 2014, according to recent statistics from the MIC, there were a total of 130 million phone subscribers, seven million landline subscribers (5.4 percent) and 120 million mobile subscribers (94.6 percent). There has been a steady shift over the previous years away from landlines to mobile phones. Landline phones are now primarily used by businesses and other organizations, rather than households.
Vietnam’s country code will remain the same at +84. Please see below for some of the key areas which will have their area codes changed:
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