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Sharing Infrastructure Investments to Speed Up 5G Deployment in Vietnam

Recently, at the Ministerial Roundtable of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the government officials discussed investment in 5G networks. According to a press release, ministers emphasised the importance of 5G as a national digital infrastructure and the need to accelerate 5G coverage.

The influence of 5G networks on digital transformation is considered a decisive factor. Vietnam is taking the first steps in piloting 5G networks. However, network operators encounter problems similar to countries that are going ahead in 5G development, such as investment costs, frequency licensing, and not having enough users to make a profit. At a meeting within the framework of the World Digital Expo last month, the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, introduced Vietnam’s solution to quickly expand 5G coverage. Accordingly, the four major network operators in Vietnam will develop their own 5G network to cover 25% of the population. These 5G networks will then be roaming in the first 2-3 years of operation. This model helps carriers to reduce investment costs and quickly deploy 5G networks to benefit themselves and the country.

Huynh Quang Liem, the General Director of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT), noted that countries with good digital infrastructure can reduce the negative impact of COVID-19 by up to 50%. The Vietnamese government has defined digital infrastructure as a pillar of the digital economy. Currently, mobile networks in Vietnam cover 99.8% of the population. However, Internet access in rural areas is still limited. For example, many villages do not have broadband Internet and 30% of households have not installed a fixed Internet network. Liem stated that Vietnamese carriers are sharing many base stations, and they can use 5G equipment infrastructure to optimise investment efficiency and better serve customers. Network design and 5G technology allow carriers to cooperate and share 5G telecommunications equipment.

During the event, the Deputy Minister in charge of digitisation at the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic, emphasised the importance of digital infrastructure and digital services as the key to increasing the resilience of the economy and society, promoting post-COVID recovery. Governments should pay attention to issues like technical standards, synchronisation between digital communication infrastructure, and other strategic infrastructures, transforming telecommunications infrastructure, and the future digital economy. It is important to inform people about 5G network and its benefits, he said.  Meanwhile, Brazil plans to expand 5G networks in all major cities by June 2022. Currently, all cities in this country have mobile coverage in urban areas, with 95% covered by 4G services, and the rest by 3G services. From 4 November, the Brazilian government will open a 5G auction to provide spectrum in four different frequency bands. It is expected that the auction will attract both local and international giants.

Digital technology could potentially bring over US$74 billion to Vietnam by 2030, with the most beneficial sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and food, and education training. Vietnam has the second-fastest-growing Internet economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. The government has collaborated with private players to organise online training and capacity-building programmes in technology, e-commerce applications, 5G networks, and digital transformation for domestic businesses.


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