January 24, 2021

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Vietnam’s 5G service fees to be the same as 4G

5G mobile network is under commercial trial in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (HCM) City. Vietnam is among the few countries in the world that have put 5G into trial use.

Nguyen Phong Nha, the Deputy Director of the Telecommunications Authority noted that Vietnam aims for nationwide 5G coverage by 2030. By that time, people will be able to access broadband Internet at low costs. To achieve the goal, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has built a telecommunication development strategy, setting targets for upgrading 4G infrastructure and commercialising 5G soon, a press release has explained.

To date, three network operators, namely Viettel, MobiFone, and VinaPhone, have licenses to provide 5G services on a trial basis. A representative of the Telecommunication Authority said that along with providing mobile network services, businesses can develop software and devices for 5G. This is a challenge but also an opportunity for Vietnam to join the terminal market.

The trial of 5G is an opportunity for network operators to build reasonable business models and anticipate costs before 5G services are officially licensed. After the trial period, network operators will have to submit reports on the results of the trial in terms of technical features, commercial potential, and market demand, so that MIC can perfect the legal basis.

Nha said the deployment of 5G in Vietnam will depend on market demand. 5G may not cover the entire country immediately. At first, it will be available in larger cities such as Hanoi, Da Nang, and HCM City. The cities have been chosen for 5G deployment because these are areas with a high density of mobile device users and high requirements on speed. Further, 5G may also be deployed in industrial zones and areas where there is a demand for smart factories. MIC hopes the services will be launched in 2021.

According to VinaPhone, technical experiments in Hanoi and HCM City showed that the download speed of 5G is ten times higher than 4G, while the latency is ten times lower. As for MobiFone, the network operator has finished the installation and is testing 5G speed. In standard conditions, the download speed is 1.3 Gbps. The speed is expected to increase.

According to Viettel, there are about 8,000 terminal devices compatible with 5G on its entire network. However, due to the narrow coverage area, only several hundred devices have been connected with the testing network. The average speed is 500-600 Mbps.

Apart from 5G trials, Viettel is joining forces with Vingroup to develop 5G broadcasting equipment. The equipment made locally accounts for 15% of total transceiver equipment being tried by the network operator.

The number of 5G subscribers nationwide is expected to reach a figure of 6.3 million by 2025, with the deployment of 5G services anticipated to help Vietnamese mobile service providers increase their annual revenue by US$300 million, as OpenGov Asia reported earlier.

To keep up with demand, Vietnam needs to invest between US$1.5 billion and US$2.5 billion in the technology over the next five years. The country will face several obstacles in terms of the cost of equipment and services, limited network coverage, and the adverse impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release, the Vietnamese government is pursuing an industry 4.0 strategy, with a specific focus on upgrading infrastructure, improving human resources, and deploying e-government services. E-commerce transformation is expected to boost the number of electronic firms to 43% over the next five years.

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