Deputy PM: 5G Crucial to Vietnam’s Development; Viettel installs Vietnam’s first 5G base stations in Hanoi

Vietnam’s deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam has thrown his support behind the adoption of 5G in the nation, stating that 5G will be crucial to Vietnam’s development.

During the recent ASEAN Conference on 5G, the deputy prime minister acknowledged that the government will need to proactively support businesses to ensure they are more confident in investing in 5G, according to Nhan Dan Online, the official newsletter of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

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Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam has stated that 5G, the next-generation of mobile communications standard, is crucially important to the development of Vietnam

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During the conference, Dam said the technology will not only provide major speeds improvements but involve changes in global production methods. He suggested that participants use the Vietnam-organized conference to discuss the pathway to 5G development in the ASEAN region.

Vietnam aims to become one of the world’s early adopters of 5G. Several Vietnamese operators have been allocated licenses to trial the technology in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City ahead of a commercial launch.

Also at the event, Vietnam’s ICT minister Nguyen Manh Hung also stated that 5G will be the most vital part of the infrastructure required for the future digital economy.  He told the delegates at the conference that Vietnam will be one of the first countries in the world to roll out the next-generation of wireless technology.  Several local carriers have been licensed to trial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Minister Hung added.

The two-day ASEAN Conference on 5G is a Vietnamese initiative designed to foster regional cooperation in 5G policies, as well as 5G-based technology, service and application development.
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Update (April 10, 2019):

Viettel deploys Vietnam’s first 5G base stations

Vietnamese military-run operator Viettel has installed Vietnam’s first 5G base stations in Hanoi ahead of planned 5G trials.

The operator has deployed three test 5G base stations at various offices, and expects to switch them on for trials in early May, state news agency Nhan Dan Online reported.

Viettel plans to test 70 5G base stations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in June in preparation for a large-scale deployment, the report states.  The military run telecom group is targeting a 5G commercial launch in 2020. Viettel is taking the lead in the deployment of the technology in the market.

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Military-run telecommunications group Viettel has installed the first base transceiver station (BTS) of fifth generation (5G) in Vietnam on the roof of the Viettel Centre in Hoan Kiem District.

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At the recent ASEAN Conference on 5G in Vietnam, minister of information and communications Nguyen Manh Hung said 5G represents an opportunity for Vietnam to change its global rankings by stimulating growth in the digital economy.

http://english.mic.gov.vn/Pages/TinTuc/138840/Viettel-installs-first-5G-base-transceiver-stations-in-Vietnam.html

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Update:  April 26, 2018:

Indochina Telecom on Thursday launched Vietnam’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) ITelecom, increasing the number of telecom service providers in the Southeast Asian country to six.

The five veteran mobile network operators in Vietnam include Vinaphone, MobiFone, Viettel, Vietnamobile, and G-tel.

An MVNO is a wireless communications service provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides the service to its customers.

Newcomer ITelecom obtained access to network services from telecom market leader Vinaphone under a business agreement to offer its own network service.

Prefixing phone numbers on its network with 087, ITelecom says it is committed to offering flexible telecom services and stable quality at reasonable costs.

The company’s deputy general director Luu Anh Son said the virtual model helps save considerable costs, time, and effort whilst still ensuring quality for its users.

For Vinaphone, the agreement offers an opportunity to resell voice and data packages and share network operating costs, allowing the telecom giant to ultimately add to its bottom line.

Indochina Telecom’s services are currently offered to workers in industrial parks in nine provinces and cities including Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Vinh Phuc, Bac Giang, Bac Ninh in northern Vietnam, and Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City, Long An and Dong Nai in the south.

The operator’s most popular package allows users to enjoy all under-20-minute calls within its and Vinaphone’s networks, as well as 30-minute calls to other networks and 3GB of daily Internet data at a cost of VND77,000 (US$3.3) a month.  ITelecom has yet to establish its own system of representative offices in Vietnam, instead relying on wholesale and authorized agents to connect with customers – a system which could potentially inconvenience customers in need of customer or tech support.

To overcome this drawback, the operator plans to ink agreements with other networks to contract out such services at reasonable prices, while providing a variety of packages to different groups and user segments, according to Son. Established in 2008, Indochina Telecom has more than a decade of experience in providing basic mobile network and Internet services across Vietnam.

https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/business/20190426/first-mobile-virtual-network-launched-in-vietnam/49809.html

 

3 thoughts on “Deputy PM: 5G Crucial to Vietnam’s Development; Viettel installs Vietnam’s first 5G base stations in Hanoi

  1. July 19, 2019 NY Times: Is Huawei a Security Threat? Vietnam Isn’t Taking Any Chances
    As the world splits along U.S.-China fault lines, telecom companies in Vietnam appear to be quietly avoiding the Chinese tech giant in their 5G plans.

    Viettel (owned by Vietnam government) has been developing its own software and equipment for many years, Mr. Thang told the NY Times (url below), and employs 300 engineers in research and development. It has designed and produced its own base stations, which exchange radio signals with cellphones, and its own computer systems for billing customers’ accounts, he said.

    Most mobile carriers simply buy these things from outside vendors such as Ericsson or Huawei. Mr. Thang said Viettel had deployed around 1,000 self-produced 4G base stations across Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries.

    But when asked whether Viettel’s aim in developing its own equipment was to help keep its networks secure, Mr. Thang first consulted in Vietnamese with a company communications officer, Le Duc Anh Tuan, who then answered in English.

    The most important reason for Viettel to develop its own software, Mr. Tuan said, is so it can respond more nimbly to customers’ changing needs. Security is not the main factor, he said.

    Asked why Viettel didn’t use Huawei in Vietnam but did use Chinese suppliers elsewhere, Mr. Tuan said equipment makers gave the company different deals in each country. “We have many partners,” he said, and Viettel considered each of them on its merits.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/technology/huawei-ban-vietnam.html

  2. Vietnam Makes Big Bet on Homegrown 5G, Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

    Vietnam’s largest phone company was evidently not kidding last year when it announced plans to build its own 5G network. In an update last Friday, Viettel has reportedly promised to launch a 5G service in June based on its own equipment and software. It has already carried out trials, including a 5G video call last week.

    Viettel’s announcement is potentially a big deal. Telecom operators do not typically build the mobile networks they use to provide services. Usually, that job goes to a diminishing number of manufacturing giants, of which the very largest are China’s Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia. There is little precedent for what the Vietnamese service provider is attempting.

    Its motivation seems partly geopolitical. International concern surrounds Huawei, the world’s biggest mobile infrastructure vendor. Critics see it as a Chinese government stooge and threat to national security, as well as a trade cheat. The Vietnamese may need little persuading: Tension between China and Vietnam has been mounting over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The two countries nearly came to nautical blows last year when Chinese authorities sent ships into Vietnamese waters. A Chinese 5G vendor is unlikely to be a popular choice in Vietnam.

    Huawei avoidance is not the only explanation, though. Much like India, Vietnam is becoming newly assertive on the global technology stage as its economy continues to grow. Thanks largely to its abundance of cheap labor, it has already emerged as a tech manufacturing hub in Asia. Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, makes about one third of its mobile phones in Vietnamese factories. Vietnamese government attention is now turning to homegrown expertise. Widely touted as an essential pillar of the future digital economy, 5G has risen swiftly up the agenda.

    That Viettel should take the 5G lead is not altogether surprising. Founded in 1989, it is wholly owned by the Vietnamese state and appears to have close links to the military. Its activities have not been confined to operating telecom networks, either. Indeed, Viettel appears to have started out in construction and today boasts expertise in fields including hi-tech research and manufacturing.

    It is also a bigger organization than outsiders might assume. According to its own website, it made about $10.1 billion in revenues in 2018 and now serves more than 110 million customers worldwide, following expansion into several markets in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Its workforce in 2018 included more than 70,000 employees, it says.

    Even so, this makes Viettel a lot smaller than Ericsson alone. With its 5G focus, the Swedish equipment vendor had sales of $22.1 billion in 2018 and finished last September with around 96,000 employees. Each year it pumps about $4 billion into research and development. To match that, Viettel would have to commit about 40% of its total revenues to R&D, a sum that no existing vendor could manage. Struggling to remain competitive, ZTE, a smaller Chinese supplier, injected about 15% of its revenues into R&D during the first nine months of 2018. Last week it announced a share offering worth about $1.7 billion to fund additional 5G efforts.

    The difference is that Viettel is not necessarily trying to compete on the global 5G stage — at least, not in the first instance. Its statements, as reported by mainstream press outlets, suggest its initial focus is on 5G development for its own service provider business. Sales to other companies are not yet an obvious consideration.

    As regards internal R&D, Viettel’s interest might also lie primarily in the “core,” a sensitive, software-based part of the network responsible for traffic routing and other important functions. This would not be such a leap into the unknown because Viettel — unusually for a telco — already sells billing software to other service providers and demonstrated an internally developed 4G core product at last year’s Mobile World Congress. In August 2019, it reportedly said its aim was to produce 80% of its core network infrastructure this year. If Viettel has few worries about the more hardware-based radio access network (RAN), it could strike a 5G deal with Ericsson, Nokia or Samsung for this gear.

    This will not silence the skeptics. The lack of alternatives to the big three vendors shows that designing sophisticated network systems is no cakewalk. Elsewhere, operators equally worried about reliance on a few giant kit vendors are backing more open interfaces and software tools as an alternative. Rather than develop these technologies themselves, they are turning to an emerging ecosystem of network startups and software specialists.

    To what extent these tools figure in Viettel’s plans is currently unknown. Building traditional gear would be difficult and possibly counterintuitive, given the widespread telco interest in more open networks. With its financial clout and customer base, Viettel could certainly provide some impetus for technologies such as open RAN, which promises to reduce 5G costs and make kit more interoperable. Yet open RAN is still not ready for mass-market deployment in the most demanding conditions. Even its most enthusiastic telco supporters see it as a complement to the mainstream suppliers in specific circumstances — not a substitute for them.

    If nothing else, Viettel’s plan is a sign of the 5G-fueled backlash against years of vendor consolidation. Countries and companies do not want to be dependent on two or three foreign players for such a critical technology. A domestic alternative would provide a kind of network security akin to the energy security that has been so important since the Arab oil embargo of the 1970s. That explains why countries such as India, Russia, the US and now Vietnam are trying to foster homegrown champions. Expect others to follow.

    https://www.lightreading.com/asia-pacific/vietnam-makes-big-bet-on-homegrown-5g/d/d-id/756939?

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