November 30, 2020

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Vietnamese network provider to start 5G trials in December

The Vietnamese telecommunications service provider VNPT is planning to begin its trials of 5G, the next-generation wireless technology, in the pedestrian zone around Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi early next month.

According to a press release, the move comes after the company was granted a license by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) to conduct 5G network testing in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City using a total of 100 cellular towers.

The testing will take place on the frequency bands of 2,600MHz and 3,700-3,800MHz. In the capital city, 5G coverage will be provided mainly in the Hoan Kiem Lake area and some locations in Hai Ba Trung District while testing in Ho Chi Minh City will target the pedestrian street of Nguyen Hue, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and some areas in Districts 3 and 10.

The company said it is purchasing equipment to prepare for installation across the two cities and to ensure that the network can support up to 5,000 subscribers during its trial period.

It is also working with smartphone manufacturers to test devices currently available on the market so that users will have the best experience, the release said. To date, more than half of all available devices have been tested. Earlier, MIC had also granted similar licenses to Viettel and Mobifone, two other major mobile carriers in Vietnam.

OpenGov Asia recently reported that MIC and the Market Licensing Division of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority decided to shut down old-tech wavebands so that network operators can optimise operations and reserve frequency resources for new technologies. This will promote the digital society and digital economy.

By getting rid of 2G and 3G technologies, countries are free to apply different methods and have different targets. Deploying 5G mobile technology simultaneously with 2G, 3G, and 4G networks will be expensive and ineffective.

Shutting down 3G networks would be less costly because the number of terminals for them is less than the devices that only support 2G. Also, 3G is an incomplete data transmission technology that has a higher data transfer speed than 2G, but it does not support high-speed interactive services such as television, video, and streaming like 4G technology does.

On the other hand, the disadvantage is that it will not create breakthrough developments in a society striving for a digital economy and society, which the Party and government are determined to promote.

Although shutting down 2G will be harder, the government will be able to accelerate the implementation of the national digital transformation program by 2025 approved by the Prime Minister, which notes that 4G/5G and smartphones will be promoted for every Vietnamese citizen.

Vietnam’s proposed roadmap to switch off old technologies is in accordance with the national development plan. When switching off 2G, it is necessary to apply a policy to help people shift to smartphones. When the number of subscribers using old-tech networks falls to 5%, then it will be the right time to switch off the networks.