The number of subscribers to third generation mobile telecommunications technology in Vietnam has surged to nearly 20 million in the first half of this year, the Department of Information Technology reported Friday. Nguyen Trong Duong, head of the department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, said at a conference in Hanoi. Contrary to the surge in 3G subscribers, the number of mobile phone users dropped more than 8 million in 2013 to 123.7 million, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications’ White Book. Duong attributed the slump in the number of mobile phone subscribers to the tightened regulations on prepaid phone users. Users are currently required to register with telecom network operators by using their real information to have their SIM cards activated, thus reducing the number of unregistered accounts, he explained. Vietnam’s telecom posted $7.4 billion revenue this year, a 13 percent year on year drop, due to the boom of smartphone apps that allow users to text or make phone calls for free using 3G connections. State-owned telecom giant VNPT remains the leader in the landline phone market, while military-run Viettel outplayed it to dominate the mobile phone market. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!