Digital signature service providers struggling to seek ways to survive
05/06/2012, 10:34:39 AM (GMT+7)
(VietNamNet Bridge)-It’s not the time for the enterprises providing public digital signature certification services (CA) to think of making heavy investment and expanding their business scale. They now just think about what to do to earn money to exist.
Floor prices needed to fight against dumping
To date, nine CAs have been licensed. These include six enterprises which have provided digital certificates to the market, namely VNPT-CA, CA2, BKAV-CA, Viettel-CA, FPT-CA, CK-CA and three others which are still in the preparation period, namely Newtel CA, Safe-CA, SmartSign.
However, the number of clients for the enterprises remains modest. Only the businesses which declare tax online or make electronic customs declaration could be their potential clients. It is estimated that over 100,000 businesses now using digital signatures
Ngo Tuan Anh, Director of Bkav Telecom, which provides BKAV-CA service, said CAs have to make heavy investment in order to ensure high quality services and the information security. Meanwhile, digital signature has been only applied in public administration services, such as tax or customs declaration. Therefore, CAs have to compete fiercely with each other to scramble for clients.
This means that CAs may skip some important steps in the process, which would lead to the unsafe services and cause bad consequences to the whole CA market and national root CA (the CAs that certify public CAs), as well as the Ministry of Information and Communication.
Tran The Hien, Director of FPT-CA, has also expressed his worry about the competition among CAs. Though the CAs quote the floor service package fees at 990,000 dong for one year package, 1.7 million dong for two-year package and 2.3 million dong for three-year package, no one can be sure that the prices would be applied in reality.
CAs may try different methods to attract more clients by offering preferences or commissions. “If CAs continue competing so fiercely, they would kill themselves,” Hien said.
On the issue, Head of the Information Technology Application Agency, an arm of the Ministry of Information and Communication Nguyen Thanh Phuc has said the agency would come forward and act as the intermediary party which would gather CAs in an agreement on healthy competition.
However, enterprises believe that it would be better if the ministry sets up the floor prices in order to restrict unhealthy competition and protect consumers’ benefit.
Five years not long enough to develop services
Under the current laws, a CA’s service license is valid for five years only, which means that the licenses of more than a half of the licensed CAs are near to expire.
However, the Ministry of Information and Communication has been urged to amend the current regulations and set up new validity period for the license. Especially, Hien believes that it would be better to grant licenses for indefinite time.
CAs have also urged relevant agencies to take actions in order to bring more clients to them. They want the new policies, which allow them to target individual clients (the clients of commercial banks or securities companies – they now mostly apply the security authentication technologies which were born before digital signature came out).
If so, the demand for digital signature would be increasing significantly. At present, only businesses or legal entities use digital signature services, while every business only needs one digital signature for online customs and taxation declaration.
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