Take A Picture Before You Talk
Other than important identification documents, most residents in Vietnam wouldn’t have many reasons to take portrait photographs. However, that will change soon, as it is now mandatory for mobile phone users to provide not only a scanned copy of their ID card but also a portrait photo to legally own a SIM card.
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The New Regulation
This regulation, which has been effective since April 2017, applies to both prepaid and postpaid subscribers of all Vietnamese mobile carriers, which affects an active subscription size of almost 120 million, according to March 2017 figures from the Ministry of Information and Communications’ telecom department.
Mobile network operators have been given 12 months to ask all existing subscribers to add their portraits to the database; failure of any individual to do so would result in the termination of their service after 30 days from the first reminder by their network operator.
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This rule also applies to foreign users with the requirement that they provide their passports to complete the registration.
Network operators will send SMS messages to current subscribers to inform them of the new regulation and inform the user to visit their nearest service provider center to take a photo if they don’t already have one.
Not Everyone Agrees
Some users have expressed strong opinions against this new ruling. Vu Hoang Lien, chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association, said “even banks do not demand a portrait of their customers, so it is questionable whether the mobile carriers really need to do so.”
From a customer’s perspective, Nhat Minh, a Ho Chi Minh City resident, said it would be a huge waste of time and a nuisance. Minh uses three different SIM cards from three carriers, which means “I will have to waste three days taking portrait photos at each of the companies’ offices.”
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Mobile carriers themselves have conceded that it is a challenge to encourage existing users to provide a portrait.
The current Vietnamese law on telecommunication stipulates that any individual must provide accurate personal information as per their ID card to register for a new SIM card.
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