HCMC plans free smartphones for poor people

By Huu Cong   January 11, 2022 | 06:22 pm PT
HCMC plans free smartphones for poor people
A man uses a smartphone to scan a QR code for health declaration when HCMC imposes social distancing measures to curb Covid-19 in August, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Poor residents who cannot afford smartphones should be given one, the HCMC Department of Information and Communications has proposed.

It has argued that the goal of digital transformation can be achieved only when the administration, the economy and the society transform at the same time.

To enable digitalization of the society as a whole, all citizens must be part of the transformation, Lam Dinh Thang, the department director, said in a proposal sent to the municipal administration.

He said that little attention has been paid so far to the poor, who do not have access to smart technologies.

The biggest city in Vietnam with a population of nine million registered residents, HCMC has more than 144,000 poor people, as per data from the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs.

This is a group that needs much attention, and his department finds it necessary to review and support everyone who is yet to own a smartphone, Thang said.

Doing this will enable synchronous deployment of digitalization and ensure that no citizen is left behind, he added.

The department has proposed that it collaborates with the Social Affairs Department to review all poor households and make a list of those in need of smartphones.

A plan will be prepared to guide recipients on using those devices.

Funds for the project could come from the city's budget or private investment, and recipients can pay a token price for the phones, the department has proposed.

If the city approves the plan, the department will decide what kind of smartphones would be given and estimate how much the project will cost.

The annual Global Mobile Market Report by Newzoo, a trusted source for games and e-sports analytics and market research based in the Netherlands, has said that Vietnam, with a population of 96 million, ranked 10th in the world in terms of smartphone users in 2020 with more than 61 million users.

According to a survey by global consumer survey by German data portal Statista, about 61.3 million smartphones were in use in Vietnam last year.

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