3G becoming breadwinner for Internet providers in Vietnam

TN News

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Nearly three years spent developing facilities is paying off for Internet providers, as 3G services have grown into a major source of revenues, insiders said.

Tong Viet Trung, deputy director of the military-run Viettel, one of three major telecom companies in the country, said 3G now accounts for more than 50 percent of its revenue.

The struggling economy has negatively impacted the growth of the mobile device market, but 3G services have prospered nonetheless, Trung said in a Thursday report by Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon Online.

Viettel has the best telecommunication facilities among Vietnamese providers, with around 55,000 broadcast stations, nearly half of which provide 3G service.

Trung said the cost of 3G services has become more competitive, that they are becoming cheaper than traditional ADSL, and related devices are also dropping in price, which will further boost its growth.

VinaPhone, which introduced 3G in October 2009, said the service provided the company with more than 52 percent of its revenue in 2012, a 60 percent increase over the previous year.

The company was providing more than 80 3G services to nearly six million subscribers at the end of last year, said Lam Hoang Vinh, deputy general director of Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Corporation, which owns Viettel's competitors VinaPhone and MobiFone.

It built an additional 10,000 3G stations in 2012 and is close to providing nationwide 3G coverage.

Insiders said the 3G momentum from 2012 will carry over into the coming years to become the primary breadwinner for Internet providers.

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A survey by the Ministry of Information and Communication said the four 3G providers, including Vietnamobile, have poured VND27.78 trillion (US$1.33 billion) into infrastructure development and their networks now cover more than 90 percent of the country's territory.

Trung said the providers are now beginning to reap benefits from their investment.

"Vietnam's telecommunications market now gathers enough advantages such as complete infrastructure, cheap terminal devices, diversity of services with appropriate fees, all for 3G to grow faster in coming years," he said.

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