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Vietnam supports Laos’ digital transformation

State-owned network provider Viettel’s Laos unit, Unitel, was honoured with two prizes including the Innovation in Public Administration Services and the Innovation in Consumer Products and Services at the 2020 Asia Pacific Stevie Awards.

The awards recognise Unitel for expanding new services and updating technologies to support the Laos Government during its digital transformation. The Laos Ministry of Science and Technology chose Unitel to act as a consultant to build e-government and smart healthcare projects. The agreements were under its national digital transformation strategy.

Additionally, Unitel has handed over a civil status management program to the Lao Ministry of Home Affairs. According to a press release, thanks to this program, all citizenship data has been uploaded to the system, improving the capacity to manage data and information about people, and helping reduce administrative procedures. This is the first time that Laos has implemented the management of electronic civil status instead of the registration of civil status as before.

Unitel was the first unit licensed by the Central Bank of Laos to officially deploy mobile money and is also the only company developing this service in the country, offering a new secure and quick payment method for more than six million people. This field is expected to generate 30-50% of Unitel’s telecoms revenue in the future.

The General Director of Unitel, Lưu Mạnh Ha noted that with the advantages of digital transformation in Vietnam and Peru, Unitel has quality resources to bring a better life to the people in Laos. In the first half of the year, with financial revenue reaching 101% of the plan, Unitel continued to be the top telecom company in Laos, accounting for 57% of the market share.

Founded in October 2009, the Viettel subsidiary operates across all 17 provinces and cities in Laos and has led the market for eight consecutive years. It is also the Laos government’s partner in implementing the country’s key e-government systems.

Last year, Viettel planned to roll out 5G technology in Laos. This was Vietnam’s third overseas launch of the service. The country aims to expand this list to four Southeast Asian nations. Viettel had been testing 5G in Myanmar and Cambodia through local arms.

As OpenGov Asia reported, Unitel became the first operator to offer the 5G technology in Laos. In 2019, Unitel boasted 6,000 3G and 4G base stations, covering 95% of the country. It commanded more than half the local market with about 3 million subscribers. In February 2019, Unitel helped introduce SIM cards to Laos, which led the country to rank 7th out of 10 ASEAN member states in terms of advanced telecommunications services.

In the same year, Viettel broadcast its first end-to-end 5G network in Ho Chi Minh City, offering the public a chance to experience 5G services for the first time. The organisation said it had set up 5G base stations in Ward 12 in the city’s District 10.

This year, following Vietnam’s digital transformation plan, both 4G and 5G mobile network services and smart mobile phones will be universalised, and more than half of the country’s population will be making use of electronic forms of payment.

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