Lockheed to sell 2nd telecoms satellite to Vietnam

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US firm Lockheed Martin Corp has won a contract to provide a second telecommunications satellite to Vietnam, the country's top telecoms group, VNPT, said on Tuesday.

VNPT was scheduled to sign a contract for the procurement of the VINASAT 2 satellite and control facilities plus a launch service with Lockheed Martin on Tuesday, VNPT said in an invitation to the signing ceremony.

It did not give the value of the contract. The Ministry of Information and Communications said in September 2009 that the country could invest up to $350 million in the project and VNPT said the satellite launch was scheduled for May 2012.

In April 2008 Vietnam launched its first telecoms satellite, the $200 million VINASAT 1 built by Lockheed Martin, from French Guiana to reduce reliance on the leasing of foreign satellites and meet rising demand for telecoms services.

Nearly 24 million people, 28 percent of Vietnam's population of 86 million, used the Internet as of the end of March, up nearly 14 percent from the same time last year, government statistics show.

The total number of new phone users surged 41 percent last year to 41.7 million, of which 37.7 million were mobile phone users, and analysts attributed the growth to the launch of high-speed 3G mobile phone services.

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