Troubled S-Fone to provide 3G services in Vietnam

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Down and out Vietnamese mobile phone operator S-Fone has announced it will soon provide high speed 3G services, after sacking all its employees in July resurrection efforts.

The statement from Saigon Post and Telecommunication Corporation (Saigon Postel or SPT), which owns S-Fone, said the company gained a permit from the Ministry of Information and Technology in March to switch from CDMA standard to 3G, marking an end to CDMA in Vietnam.

S-Fone "expects to provide 3G services in 2013," the statement said, according to a Tuoi Tre report on July 31.

The operator plans to build six times the number of its current broadcast stations and also expand its broadcast area many times more.

It guarantees that current users of the S-Fone mobile network will have the 3G privileges when the operator launches the new services.

Last month, many S-Fone stores were closed and all the employees, around 500, were fired and reportedly did not receive their due payments of VND43 billion (more than US$2 million) in total, as the company announced plans to change from a telecom operator to an information and telecom company.

In its latest press release, Saigon Postel said it will re-employ those who were sacked into its new business model. The firm said it had been too busy with the turnaround to fulfill its payment duties.

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The company said local and global economic circumstance forced it to restructure.

The new company will have "more legal space to draw investment and develop its technologies," the statement said.

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