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5G commercial services launched in Vietnam

Image credit: Nhan Dan

Within the final months of 2020, all three major mobile carriers in Vietnam announced trials of commercial 5G services, making Vietnam one of the first countries in the world to roll out the latest generation of wireless technology. This is expected to boost the digital economy.

According to a news report, unlike previous technologies most of which had to be imported, Vietnam has gradually mastered and is now capable of producing 5G equipment, a strategically important step in Vietnam’s development of information and communications technology.

State-run enterprise 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.

Later in mid-December, Vinaphone announced its 5G coverage in some central districts in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as two demonstration centres, enabling residents without 5G devices to experience the new technological features. The third provider, Mobifone, also quickly caught up by piloting commercial 5G services in Ho Chi Minh City.

However, industry experts have noted that the mobile carriers’ rush to roll out 5G services at this time is merely a competition between brands and does not precisely reflect what the domestic telecommunications market will look like in the future.

With 3G and 4G technologies, Vietnam was a latecomer, but with 5G, Vietnam is one of the frontrunners. Although the trials are just an initial step in the long process to widespread rollout, the carriers’ efforts have demonstrated the local communications sector’s capacity and readiness to provide the new technologies to the people, the report noted.

With exceptionally fast speeds, low latency, and high density (up to one million devices in one square kilometre), 5G is expected to revolutionise the fields of advanced technology, healthcare, transport, and education. It will lay the foundation for Vietnam to master and apply new technologies as well as succeed in its national digital transformation drive.

5G will bring with its tremendous opportunities in the future but quite a few challenges as well. First of all, carriers face a risk that 5G-enabled devices have not yet been widely popular with consumers at the time of mass rollout and that 5G business models are as of yet not proven to be effective. Further, the demand for this technology is not yet very high, making carriers find it hard to balance costs and benefits.

The fourth industrial revolution is taking place at a rapid pace around the world and 5G is one of the key technologies in this revolution thanks to its high speeds and low latency, essential to many sectors. Therefore, countries should take advantage of this opportunity and Vietnam is also taking proactive steps to get on-board the 5G train.

Vietnam has certain advantages as it can produce many types of equipment and infrastructure necessary for 5G. The Ministry of Information and Communications has affirmed that mastering 5G equipment is strategically significant nationally and Vietnam is one of the few countries capable of doing so. From now on, Vietnam will actively act as a pioneer alongside the rest of the world with regards to technology, helping further stimulate the communications sector, making an even greater contribution to the country’s socio-economic development.

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