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Vietnamese Telecom Groups Get On Board With 5G

The largest telecom operators in Vietnam, state-run organisation Viettel and Vinaphone and Mobifone, are betting on 5G services and digital platforms to increase revenues amid a saturation of traditional services. In early May, the Viettel Cyberspace Centre officially put into operation a high-performance computing system that enables both the development and operation of more complicated artificial intelligence (AI) models. It will meet rising computing demands by the end of the decade – at which point Vietnam aims to become an innovation powerhouse in Southeast Asia.

Nguyen Dinh Chien, Deputy General Director of Viettel said that Viettel’s investment in AI will allow the group to unleash its creativity and attract top-tier AI experts. Viettel and other telecom operators have been facing a fall in revenues in mobile services in recent years, according to a press release. In 2020, Viettel and MobiFone saw almost no significant increase in revenues of the mobile voice service segment. Meanwhile, revenues from data services rose strongly.

Currently, mobile data charges in Vietnam are among the lowest worldwide, equal to just 30% of that in India. This is a concern as 5G is now available in the country. According to Nguyen Phong Nha, Deputy Head of the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), mobile operators are facing pressure on revenues from older telecommunications services as traditional voice and text communications are being replaced with more cutting-edge technology.

Internet services do not create as much profit as expected due to their growing popularity and decreasing charges. Traditional telecom service providers should enlarge business operations, thus enabling them to have new sources of revenue.  In the wake of this, Vinaphone, Viettel, and MobiFone are rushing to get licenses for 5G network testing. Last December, Vinaphone became the first to receive a license for the commercialisation of 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, Vinaphone has been developing the necessary infrastructure to widen 5G coverage.

The trial run of 5G services in the country is also helping VNPT realise the application of new technologies for smart cities and enterprises. Elsewhere, together with a high-performance computing system, Viettel plans to deploy 5G on non-standalone architecture and trial 5G on standalone architecture by 2022, together with an array of new services.

In February, over 17,000 Viettel mobile subscribers registered with the company’s 5G promotional package. In the fourth quarter of 2021, 30 major cities and provinces, industrial parks, and urban areas will be covered with 5G. And by 2025, Viettel will deploy 5G on a wider scale towards reaching national coverage by 2026.

Thus far, Viettel has also invested in the development of digital platforms, including the Viettel AI Open platform, Viettel Cyberbot, Viettel Data Mining Platform, and Viettel AI Camera for Transportation, among several others. It is estimated that by 2025, 5G will make up around 20% of the world’s total number of mobile subscriptions.

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