In Vietnam, 4G service is now a game for big players

VietNamNet Bridge - Of the five telecom networks in Vietnam, one has begun providing 4G service and two others are hurrying to complete infrastructure to expand their network. The military telco Viettel became the first network operator which launched 4G service in Vietnam on April 18. After six months of development, it has built nearly 36,000 4G BTS to fulfill its commitment to cover nearly all of Vietnam with 4G.
VinaPhone and MobiFone, the other two in top three mobile network operators, are hurrying to build infrastructure to prepare for 4G.
Under its ambitious plan, MobiFone plans to have 30,000 BTS to ensure 4G service quality. By October 2016, the network operator had 4,500 stations.

In early April 2017, Minister of Information & Communication Truong Minh Tuan reminded MobiFone to step up the deployment of 4G.
Though MobiFone has changed simcards for subscribers, free of charge, there are some signs showing that MobiFone is ‘short of breath’ in the 4G race.
Gmobile is another network operator which has a license for 4G service. Analysts once believed that Gmobile would hurry to launch the service because 4G would help it make a breakthrough in the market. However, it is still providing GPRS (2G) service.
Meanwhile, Vietnamobile thinks that it won’t be late if it deploys 4G in two years. Even though Vietnam will start applying 4G much later than many other countries, including some African countries, the network operator still believes that it is not the right time to launch 4G.
Elizabete Fong, CEO of Vietnamobile, when talking to the local press last April, said 4G is the advanced technology that everyone strives to, but in Vietnam, the number of smartphones with 4G support remains modest.
Fong said only 4-5 percent of 4G supported smartphones are in use in Vietnam, though the figures are a bit higher in large cities.
“In cities, people have shown interest in 4G, but in rural areas, most of the smartphones being used by people are 3G. 3G is still the more popular and more easily accessible technology,” she said.
The mobile network operator affirmed that in several years, when 4G supporting terminal devices become more popular, it will be the right time to deploy the technology.
Therefore, it won’t be late if Vietnamobile starts preparing for 4G launch in two years.
Currently, clients can use 4G services provided by three network operators – MobiFone, VinaPhone and Viettel. However, only Viettel has coverage throughout the country, while the other two have been present only in some large cities.