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Vietnam Establishes Committee on 6G Research and Development

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has set up a steering committee on 6G technology. The committee, led by MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung, will be responsible for putting forward orientations, mechanisms, and policies to bolster 6G research and development in the country.

The committee will monitor the 6G equipment and service standards, production, and commercialisation of international organisations and from countries around the world. It will combine research and forecast development trends of domestic and international telecommunications markets.  The committee will also devise a roadmap to study, manufacture, and commercialise 6G equipment as well as a roadmap for testing and commercialising 6G services. It will come up with solutions to support Vietnamese enterprises with the technology.

Vietnam is in the phase of commercial testing of 5G networks with an average download speed of about ten times faster than 4G networks. Earlier, Hung had said that it is necessary to start 6G research in 2022, ensuring the country is among the leading nations in the deployment of the network. According to a press release, 6G frequency will be licensed by MIC possibly in 2028, before the commercialisation of 6G. Experts believe that 6G networks will transform the Internet bringing virtual reality into life. While the speed of 5G may reach 20 gigabits (Gbps) per second, a 6G network may achieve terabits-per-second speeds. Countries around the world, including the US, South Korea, China, Japan, and Finland have already joined the race for 6G network development.

MIC has also made extensive plans for the commercialisation of 5G technology. Last month, OpenGov Asia reported that MIC had identified 5G services provisions in 2022 through indigenously-developed devices as a core government mission. Due to infrastructure limits, however, the target is just to offer these services to 25% of the national population in 2025. 4G networks cover 99.8% of the nation and 5G technology has been successfully piloted by three major carriers: state-run group Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone in 16 cities and provinces. Authorities have claimed that the country is now technically ready for the official commercialisation of 5G services.

MIC said that domestic 5G equipment now ranges from the core, transmission, and access networks. They have been effectively exploited in the piloting schemes. Vietnam has finished installing 5G stations using open radio access network (ORAN) technology with download and upload speeds of 900Mbps and 60Mbps, respectively. This is a major improvement to boost 5G device research and manufacturing in Vietnam to serve commercialisation tasks in 2022. Nevertheless, major Vietnamese carriers are still reluctant since the low demands of 5G services from domestic users cannot compensate for their large investment amount. Furthermore, as there is no specific data package during the piloting time, it is not easy for mobile network providers to accurately evaluate real market demands.

MIC suggested that the three major carriers should each cover 25% of the national surface area and allow customers to use their own facilities to reduce investment costs. This will enable the full coverage of 5G technology nationwide in a year. In their piloting periods for 5G technology, Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone adopted this practice.

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