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Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Committee opens official portal

Image credit: Nhan Dan

The official portal of the Laos – Vietnam Cooperation Committee was put into operation at a ceremony in Vientiane, last week.

The site was the outcome of the first phase of a project sponsored by Startech, a Vietnamese IT company operating in Laos. The second phase will build software to serve the committee’s project and administrative management, according to a news report.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment and Vice Chairman of the committee, Khamphuei Keokinaly, stressed that the launch of the website presents an opportunity for the committee to boost its employment of advanced science and technology serving its work in a new period.

The website is a tool to spread information on Laos’ policies for attracting foreign investors, including those from Vietnam, he noted. Once completed in December this year, the Startech project is expected to help the committee digitise its data on operations, investment promotion, and management of Vietnam – Laos cooperation projects. It will also facilitate access by Vietnamese agencies and firms to information on the two nations’ collaboration developments.

In 2019, state-run organisation Viettel planned to roll out 5G technology in Laos. This was Vietnam’s third overseas launch of the service. The country planned to expand this list to four Southeast Asian nations. Viettel had been testing 5G in Myanmar and Cambodia through local arms.

Founded in October 2009, the Viettel subsidiary operates across all 17 provinces and cities in Laos and has led the market for eight consecutive years. It is also the Laos government’s partner in implementing the country’s key e-government systems.

As OpenGov Asia reported, Unitel, Viettel’s Laos unit, became the first operator to offer the 5G technology in Laos. In 2019, Unitel boasted 6,000 3G and 4G base stations, covering 95% of the country. It commanded more than half the local market with about 3 million subscribers. In February 2019, Unitel helped introduce SIM cards to Laos, which led the country to rank 7th out of 10 ASEAN member states in terms of advanced telecommunications services.

In the same year, Viettel broadcast its first end-to-end 5G network in Ho Chi Minh City, offering the public a chance to experience 5G services for the first time. The organisation said it had set up 5G base stations in Ward 12 in the city’s District 10.

Last year, Viettel was the pioneer in announcing commercial 5G trials in late November with coverage in the Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts of Hanoi. Owners of 5G-enabled devices can now use the service for free at a speed of up to 1.5 gigabits per second, far higher than 4G.

Further, the number of 5G subscribers nationwide is expected to reach a figure of 6.3 million by 2025, with the deployment of 5G services anticipated to help Vietnamese mobile service providers increase their annual revenue by US$300 million.

To keep up with demand, Vietnam needs to invest between US$1.5 billion and US$2.5 billion in the technology over the next five years. The Vietnamese government is pursuing an industry 4.0 strategy, with a specific focus on upgrading infrastructure, improving human resources, and deploying e-government services. E-commerce transformation is expected to boost the number of electronic firms to 43% over the next five years.

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