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Vietnam extends 5G network testing licences

Image credit: Ministry of Information and Communications

The Telecommunications Department said that the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) license to test 5G technology has expired, and it has asked for an extension. The state-run Viettel Group and MobiFone’s licences have been extended until January 2021 and May 2021.

According to a press release, a representative of the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) said that in 2019 MIC granted 5G network testing licences to Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone. The tests are conducted in the four cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hai Phong. These mobile carriers are licensed to trial a 5G network with internal subscribers to evaluate technical features and the possibility of deploying telecommunications infrastructure using the new technology.

According to a report by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, by the end of May:

  • 386 carriers in 125 countries announced investments in developing 5G networks
  • 81 carriers have deployed at least one 5G service
  • 73 carriers in 38 countries/territories have applied 5G mobile technology
  • 39 carriers in 24 countries/territories have deployed fixed wireless broadband technology

Currently, the number of announced 5G terminals continues to grow rapidly and is relatively ready for commercial use. Presently, 81 equipment suppliers have announced that the 5G terminals are available or about to be launched, and 283 terminals have been announced. Of these, there are 108 phone models (at least 95 models available in the market), 79 CPE devices (indoors and outdoors), 47 modules, five laptops, 19 hotspots, 20 other devices including three robots, two IoT routers, and two drones. Device suppliers including Huawei, Mediatek, Qualcomm, and Samsung have announced new chipset models for 5G.

In Vietnam, according to Viettel’s statistics, the number of 5G terminals is small, with only about 2,000 devices/city in the two major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. To encourage telecommunications businesses to continue 5G network testing and provide commercial testing soon, the Telecommunications Department has requested local IT departments to coordinate with telecom service providers to add their localities into the businesses’ plans for 5G testing.

The Telecommunications Department said that due to technical specification, it is impossible to have 5G coverage as large as 4G, so localities need to coordinate with carriers to choose the most suitable places for the trial. This is the basis for MIC to license the 5G network test.

The Telecommunications Department has also requested carriers to coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications to deploy the sharing of telecommunications infrastructure. Also, to develop plans for sharing interdisciplinary technical infrastructure (electricity, water, traffic, and urban lighting) as 5G technology requires a much larger number of transmitting stations than previous-generation technologies.

According to MIC, telecommunications infrastructure is undergoing an important shift from frequency infrastructure as an economic foundation to important national infrastructure. It is advantageous for the implementation of 5G network in Vietnam because the country’s electronics and telecommunications businesses have actively produced IT infrastructure equipment.

Vietnam aims to conduct 5G commercial deployment with 100% of domestic equipment in October 2020. This is an important step towards both socio-economic development and security and defence assurance.

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