Vietnam may have 4G upgrade sooner than planned

Thanh Nien News

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A poster advertising 4G services at a VinaPhone store. Photo: C.T.V A poster advertising 4G services at a VinaPhone store. Photo: C.T.V


After insisting that Vietnam should take it slow with hi-speed services 4G, the Ministry of Information and Technology has apparently changed its mind, saying it will possibly grant licenses to local operators this year.
Licensing will take place some time between September and October, Vietnam News Agency reported, citing Deputy Minister Phan Tam at a meeting on Wednesday.
According to previous plans, 4G will not be officially available in Vietnam until 2017, when local operators have finished running the new services on a one-year trial basis.
"The ministry has observed that Vietnam has quite enough conditions for a successful launch," Tam was quoted as commenting on the new plan.
At a conference in October last year, responding to local operators' call for launching 4G this year, the ministry said Vietnam should wait for some time until the technology becomes more popular and cheaper.
The ministry also said that 4G technology only works on more expensive smartphones, but Vietnamese consumers still mostly use low-end handsets.
So far four businesses have been allowed to test 4G, including three telecom giants MobiFone, Viettel and VinaPhone, which together are controlling 99 percent of the 3G market.
FPT Telecom, a unit of tech giant FPT, has also acquired permission for a similar trial, local media reported.
However, only Viettel and VinaPhone are known to have started their trial at the end of last year, while MobiFone plans to test its own service this month.
Under a national plan, 95 percent of Vietnam's population will use 3G and 4G services in 2020.
Vietnam had more than 35.7 million subscribers of 3G as of January, or around 38 percent of the population, according to official figures.

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