Vietnam to delay 4G wireless technology until 2018

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The Ministry of Information and Communications will not issue licenses for fourth-generation wireless technology until 2018 to maximize the use of existing networks first.

Under a new plan for the development of the telecom industry, local companies need to expand the coverage of their 3G mobile networks and make full use of their available facilities before being allowed to move on to the next technology, news website VnExpress reported Friday, citing ministry officials.

3G already enables carriers to offer users a wide range of high-speed Internet and video services. The latest 4G technology is reportedly 500 times faster than 3G.

Vietnam has issued four 3G licenses. Vinaphone launched the first 3G network in October 2009, followed by MobiFone, Viettel and Vietnamobile. The military-run Viettel committed to spending nearly VND13 trillion, the largest investment of the four, in 3G infrastructure.

Together they have 12 million 3G users, or around 10 percent of the total mobile subscribers in the country, VnExpress said.

Viettel announced last May that it successfully tested 4G mobile services, becoming the first wireless network in Vietnam to apply the technology, but only on a trial basis.

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