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Vietnam explores telecom infrastructure sharing

Sharing the same telecommunication infrastructure system is a feasible solution for providers as it cuts investment and maintenance costs and helps protect the environment and urban landscapes.

At the end of 2019, Vietnam had 261,000 telecom-based transceiver station (BTS) and 134.5 million mobile phone subscribers, according to a digital economy knowledge network that specialises in analysing information.

The data show that Vietnam’s telecom is witnessing rapid development in comparison with other regional countries.

Of the 261,000 stations, there are 110,000 4G stations. With 4G services launched in November 2016, Vietnam’s network operators can build nearly 40,000 4G stations each year, this is according to a press release.

Many new stations are built by telcos continuously, which is the typical activity of the industry: many BTAs, many subscribers, and high revenue. The mobile operators’ strategic core competitive edge is considered to be the many waves. They had this competitiveness protected until now.

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) released Instruction No. 52 in November 2019. This explored the passive sharing of telecom technical infrastructure among telcos. This leads to a big waste of budget, which is telecommunication capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX).

Furthermore, and most importantly, a high-volume of carbon dioxide emissions are a product of the use of separate infrastructures, which affects the environment severely. Scientists have noted that the symptoms of pathological manifestation associated with electromagnetic radiation are only exposed after 5 to 10 years.

A total of VN 16 trillion (about US $685 million) would be saved when developing a 4G network in Vietnam if the telecom infrastructure sharing ration is 1.5, that is, one BTS is shared by 1.5 mobile network operators, according to the release.

The sharing of the same infrastructure system would not only help save money but would also help reduce the volume of power to be consumed. About 3.9 kWh for 4G network a year, or 1.1 tons of carbon dioxide to be emitted into the environment.

The figures would be 9.2 billion kWh and 2.7 tons of carbon dioxide if the sharing is implemented for all the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.

With the help of the policy on sharing telecom infrastructure, mobile network operators would receive benefits such as the ability to restructure their business and find out long-term strategies that best adapt to the digital economy.

There would be a shift in the kind of competition between telecom service providers if they were to share infrastructure. From competition in infrastructure, they would now be competing in creative services.

An agreement on sharing infrastructure items of 700 new BTS between VNPT and MobiFone has been signed.

As OpenGov reported earlier, currently, about 400,000 BTS’ have been installed throughout the country with each network operator running its own system. Vietnamese providers were against collaborating, however, the COVID-19 crisis, which has impacted the economy, has forced them to rethink their strategies, MIC said.

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