Telecom service providers had to deploy extra personnel to work past noon to serve hundreds of thousands of people coming to verify phone numbers’ information, days before they might be locked.
At 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, a MobiFone office in HCMC’s District 1 was still choke-full of people. Most of them came to verify their personal information on their mobile phone numbers, as requested by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
About a kilometer away, a Viettel office is also overloaded. Rows of people lining up to wait for their turn for verification can be seen.
Earlier this month the ministry had said personal information linked to mobile phone numbers that does not match the official national database would be locked from April.
If the information is not updated and verified within 15 days, people will not be able to make calls or send text messages.
After another 15 days they cannot receive calls or messages either.
Finally, 30 days later, the subscribers’ phone contracts will be terminated.
“Since early morning, we have had to deploy more personnel from other departments to come help. We work through the entire noon, without rest due to the sheer number of customers,” said a manager of a MobiFone office on Nguyen Du Street.
Doan Nghia Son, a security guard in HCMC, said he received a text message requesting him to update his information to match with the ones found in the national database, so he took off from work at noon to go to a telecom office.
“I’m old and don’t use a smartphone, so I have to go there in person. Procedures are quick and simple, but I have to wait for a long time for my turn,” he said.
According to VinaPhone, the number of people coming to its offices on Thursday increased by 5-6 times more than usual. Other telecom providers like Viettel and MobiFone, while not providing exact numbers, all reported higher numbers of customers in their offices, as well as more user access on their apps.
“We have to set up more tables, deploy more employees and stay open until 9 p.m.,” a VinaPhone representative said, adding that some offices also have mobile stations out in the open to support people.
Customers can check their personal information themselves either on websites or on apps, telecom providers said. However, many want to make sure their information is properly verified, so they go to offices for the reassurance.
Most of the people who came to these offices before the deadline hit on Friday were elderly people and students. Some people who do not have to get their information verified came anyway, making offices even more crowded.
“Some people make use of the occasion to update their information… These people are often requested by our employees to come back at a later date, as we want to prioritize customers who receive text messages requiring them to get their information verified,” a telecom office representative said.
By Tuesday, 1.8 million numbers have had their information updated, or 47% of the 3.8 million that needed verification, according to the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VTA).
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