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Vietnam To Start Developing 6G Tech in 2022

Vietnam has announced that this year, it plans to focus on the development of 6G, the sixth-generation standard currently under development for wireless communications technologies. The Minister of Information and Communications (MIC), Nguyen Manh Hung, made the announcement at a conference in Hanoi held earlier this month. He stated that it is time the country gets ahead of the development curve and strengthens its digital infrastructure with an emphasis on cloud computing, digital platforms, and software services.

A report stated that the digital economy is growing at a pace of US$136 billion a year with more than 64,000 firms. The Vietnamese government is pushing for the rapid development of its digital infrastructure and technologies in a bid to become one of the world’s leading nations in digitalisation. It aims to boost the development of 6G technology and meet the demand for skilled workers in the field. The Minister highlighted the importance of developing Vietnam’s capacity for cloud computing and digital platforms, two of the fastest-growing fields with an annual growth rate of 15-20%. According to the Ministry’s estimate, the market for cloud computing and digital platforms will have met or even surpass that of telecommunications, which has reached a market saturation point. Additionally, the telecommunication sector must address a series of long-time issues such as spam and rampant advert text messages before it can further develop into a productive segment of the digital economy.

The Minister added that digital infrastructure is among the government’s top priorities. It has set a target to be among the top 30 nations with the most advanced and robust digital infrastructure by 2025. He said to realise these targets, the telecommunication sector must start now to get ahead of the competition to develop 6G technologies and hardware as well as to build the country’s 5G network. He urged domestic firms to invest in the development and production of 5G and 6G hardware and promised that the government would provide them with additional support.

MIC has also made extensive plans for the commercialisation of 5G technology. At the beginning of the month, OpenGov Asia reported that MIC had identified 5G services provisions in 2022 through indigenously-developed devices as a core government mission. Due to infrastructure limits, however, the target is just to offer these services to 25% of the national population in 2025. 4G networks cover 99.8% of the nation and 5G technology has been successfully piloted by three major carriers: state-run group Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone in 16 cities and provinces. Authorities have claimed that the country is now technically ready for the official commercialisation of 5G services.

MIC said that domestic 5G equipment now ranges from the core, transmission, and access networks. They have been effectively exploited in the piloting schemes. Vietnam has finished installing 5G stations using open radio access network (ORAN) technology with download and upload speeds of 900Mbps and 60Mbps, respectively. This is a major improvement to boost 5G device research and manufacturing in Vietnam to serve commercialization tasks in 2022. Nevertheless, major Vietnamese carriers are still reluctant since the low demands of 5G services from domestic users cannot compensate for their large investment amount. Furthermore, as there is no specific data package during the piloting time, it is not easy for mobile network providers to accurately evaluate real market demands.

MIC suggested that the three major carriers should each cover 25% of the national surface area and allow customers to use their own facilities to reduce investment costs. This will result in full coverage of 5G technology nationwide in just one year. In their piloting periods for 5G technology, Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone adopted this practice. Therefore, if all agree, this solution to formally commercialise 5G is feasible, with thousands of new shared base transceiver stations (BTS) installed throughout the country.

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