Viettel and Vinaphone are set to launch 4G services next month. Photo: Dao Ngoc Thach
Two of the three telecom companies that are dominating the 3G market in Vietnam announced that they will launch 4G services next month, news website Zing reported on Friday.
An unnamed executive of Vinaphone was quoted as saying that it will offer the high-speed data technology on a trial basis in October or November.
Data rates will be similar to those of 3G plans and can be even cheaper, he said.
Users will not need to change their SIM cards to use 4G, he added.
One day earlier Do Minh Phuong, representative of the military-run Viettel, also confirmed a 4G launch next month.
Phuong said it will establish 12,000 4G base transceiver stations by the end of the year, allowing users to have fast mobile connection around the country.
Unlike Vinaphone, Viettel will require its customers to change their SIM cards to switch to the new tech, although their phone numbers will be the same.
MobiFone, the other telecom giant, has yet to make any announcement.
Viettel and Vinaphone's announcements came at a time when 3G services in Vietnam are often criticized for surprisingly slow speed.
Many foreign mobile market reports pointed out that Vietnam's mobile Internet speed still lags behind many other countries in the Southeast Asia, regardless of 3G's increased popularity here.
Technology firm Ericsson's latest report, for instance, showed that the median mobile download speed in Vietnam is 160 kbps (kilobits per second), while the average in Singapore and Thailand are 2,380 kbps and 21,870 kbps, respectively.
Since 3G was first introduced in Vietnam in October 2009, the number of its subscribers has surged every year.
As of June, 29.1 million people, or 32.1 percent of the country's population, had subscribed to 3G plans, the General Statistics Office of Vietnam reported, adding it was a year-on-year increase of 29.6 percent.
Viettel, Vinaphone, and MobiFone have a combined share of 99 percent of the market.