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5G Key for Vietnam’s Development

5G

Last year, Vietnam signed Resolution 52-NQ/TW, which outlined the guidelines and policies to actively participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR).

The strategy set a target to have affordable nationwide 5G network coverage by 2030, according to a press release.

To realise this vision, the government plans to test 5G mobile networks in major urban centres like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

It issued the first licence for 5G testing to Viettel, the country’s largest state-run mobile operator, with more than 60 million subscribers in a country with a population of nearly 100 million.

The company tested 5G in Hanoi and HCM City in May last year, and tests are expected to be completed this month.

In April 2019, Viettel said it had successfully tested a 5G broadcasting station in Hanoi at a speed of 600 to 700 Mbps, on a par with Verizon’s network in the US.

Other mobile carriers including MobiFone and Vinaphone are also expected to launch their own 5G networks next year.

MobiFone has received a licence to become the second operator to conduct 5G network testing.

Notably, Viettel claimed that it had developed its own core technologies for 5G networks, including chips and devices. The group said it was aiming to produce 80% of the core network infrastructure needed for the network this year. The rest would come from outside suppliers.

Many leading technology corporations in the world have expressed their interest in working closely with the government, carriers, and private enterprises to help the country properly implement its 5G coverage plan and commercialise the technology this year.

5G technology would bring a new economy, helping the country create a series of new products for smart cities, said the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA) under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

In the first phase of 5G technology, many Vietnamese enterprises will focus their resources on producing 5G chipset processors. These are considered the “heart” of 5G technology.

Although there have been proactive steps in deploying a 5G network, analysts said the road ahead for Vietnamese carriers is full of challenges and opportunities.

The number of 5G subscribers in Vietnam is expected to reach 6.3 million by 2025, according to a 5G development report published in October.

By deploying 5G services, Vietnamese telecom companies could raise their revenue by up to US $300 million each year from 2025, it noted.

However, Vietnamese mobile service providers would have to invest around US$1.5-2.5 billion in infrastructure development from 2020-2025 to launch and operate 5G services.

The report suggested that Vietnam and Southeast Asian countries need to address the release of a slow frequency spectrum for 5G services while carriers need to introduce 5G services with appropriate prices to encourage users to move to higher speeds.

The Chairman and acting General-Director of Viettel said when 5G technology started to boom, Viettel will need its own 5G equipment. Therefore, the group must find a way to successfully develop 5G technology.

More importantly, all 5G hardware and software products will be researched and produced by Viettel in Vietnam to ensure information security.

Determining the production of 5G chipsets is extremely difficult and expensive, the Deputy Minister of MIC said, adding that the Ministry wants to form a community of businesses and experts to share experiences in 5G chipset production in Vietnam in the near future.

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