Access Alert: Vietnam’s National Assembly approves revisions on Law on Telecommunications

Access Alert: Vietnam’s National Assembly approves revisions on Law on Telecommunications

Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) passed the revised Law on Telecommunications on 24 November 2023 as part of its sixth sitting.[1] According to the Vietnam Authority of Telecommunications (AoT),[2] the current legislation was formulated in 2009, and needed to be updated to ensure that Vietnam’s regulations take into consideration the convergence of telecommunications and IT with digital technologies, and the need for mapping Vietnam’s regulatory environment with international best practices and industry trends.

The 2009 Law on Telecommunications, while groundbreaking at its inception, was not equipped to adequately address the complexities and evolving nature of modern telecommunications, particularly in areas like cloud computing, data centre services, and over-the-top (OTT) communications services. These emerging sectors have become integral to the global digital economy, necessitating a legal framework that can support their growth while ensuring consumer protection, data privacy, and national security. The new legislation, which enters into force on 1 July 2024, aims to provide a more contemporary and flexible regulatory environment, fostering innovation and investment in these critical areas of telecommunications.

Key changes brought about include the introduction of a distinct regulatory regime for data centre services, cloud computing services, and OTT services, diverging from the traditional telecommunications framework. This approach reflects a more nuanced understanding of these services, acknowledging their unique characteristics and market dynamics. Significantly, the law removes restrictions on direct foreign investments in these services, allowing the establishment of wholly foreign-owned entities in Vietnam for their provision. This change is poised to attract more international investment and expertise into the Vietnamese telecommunication sector.

Additionally, the law imposes new obligations on service providers, particularly regarding user data privacy and security, mandating consent for data access and the implementation of measures to prevent unauthorised information access. The law also delineates the responsibilities of service providers in relation to content monitoring and user information tracking, enhancing user rights and data protection. These amendments indicate a progressive step towards aligning Vietnam’s telecommunications sector with international standards and practices, fostering a more secure and user-centric digital environment.

Access Partnership is following telecommunications and network policies and data governance issues in Vietnam. For more information, please contact Hamza Hameed at [email protected] or Lim May-Ann at [email protected].

[1] Vietnam Passes New Telecoms Law Regulating Data Center, Cloud-computing And OTT Communications Services – CYBER ERA: Catalyzing the Digital Economy
[2] Amended telecommunications law to promote VN’s digital infrastructure (vietnamnet.vn)

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