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Vietnam’s Digital Future: Balancing Innovation and Sustainability

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In a transformative era of technological advancement, Vietnam stands at the forefront of a digital revolution, steering its telecommunications landscape towards a future defined by innovation and sustainability. From its modest beginnings in the early 1990s as an analogue telecommunications player to emerging as a trailblazer in digital technology today, Vietnam’s journey underscores its unwavering commitment to embracing the opportunities presented by the digital age.

Image credits: Ministry of Information and Communications

At the helm of this digital transformation is Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung, who has aptly characterised 2024 as a year of pivotal transformations. The focus is now squarely on transitioning from traditional telecommunications infrastructure to robust digital frameworks, from communications-centric services to a thriving digital economy infrastructure, and from the confines of finite IT applications to the boundless possibilities offered by digital technologies.

Indeed, the landscape of telecommunications is rapidly evolving, with traditional telecom services giving way to the dominance of Over-the-Top (OTT) services. This paradigm shift has necessitated a reevaluation of growth strategies for telecom carriers, who once reported consistent two-digit growth rates but now face a markedly different landscape. As such, telecom carriers and state management agencies alike are compelled to chart new courses and embrace fresh orientations to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world.

Minister Hung’s vision for this digital transformation encompasses a comprehensive overhaul, with a focus on fostering innovation and embracing emerging technologies. This includes transitioning from automation to Artificial Intelligence (AI), from finite information processing to limitless data utilisation, and from separate software to integrated digital platforms.

Additionally, the emphasis is on shifting from outsourcing and assembly to domestic manufacturing through initiatives like “Making in Vietnam,” thereby bolstering the nation’s self-reliance and technological prowess.

Central to this transformative journey is the advent of 5G technology, heralding a new era of connectivity and digital innovation. With significant investments in 5G infrastructure, Vietnam is poised to harness the full potential of this technology, not merely for its intrinsic capabilities but for the ecosystem it fosters.

By encouraging network operators to develop digital applications and facilitating digital transformation across industries, the nation is laying the foundation for industrialisation and modernisation through a thriving digital economy.

To catalyse the adoption of 5G technology, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has taken proactive measures, including granting licenses for the establishment of 5G networks and terrestrial mobile information services. This initiative, slated for nationwide commercialisation in 2024, underscores Vietnam’s commitment to becoming a digital powerhouse in the region and beyond.

Looking beyond the horizon, Vietnam is already setting its sights on the next frontier: 6G technology. With plans to establish 6G steering committees and contribute to global 6G standards, the nation is positioning itself as a leader in technological innovation. By investing in research and development and fostering collaboration between government and businesses, Vietnam aims to be at the forefront of 6G technology by 2030, ushering in a new era of connectivity and digital transformation.

Moreover, Vietnam’s digital ambitions are intricately intertwined with its commitment to environmental sustainability. Recognising the imperative of green growth, the government has prioritised digital transformation and green transition as fundamental pillars of its economic restructuring.

Leveraging its labour force and geopolitical advantages, Vietnam is poised to lead the way towards a greener and more sustainable future, setting a global example for sustainable development in the digital age.

In embracing digital creativity and green growth, Vietnam is not only charting a course towards economic prosperity but also reaffirming its position as a global leader in innovation and sustainability. With unwavering determination and forward-thinking policies, the nation is poised to navigate the complexities of the digital age while building a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.

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