Vietnam telcos to pilot 5G in An Giang

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta province of An Giang has been selected as the location for the government’s piloting of 5G services this year.

Located in the southwest of Vietnam, An Giang borders Cambodia and is a significant agricultural center.

State-owned telcos, VNPT and Viettel, will be tasked with launching the service. After conducting commercial 5G trials in major cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has chosen An Giang to boost tourism management and digital infrastructure investment in the province.

The An Giang Provincial People’s Committee said that as of now, all localities in An Giang are covered by 3G, 4G, and mobile broadband.

Viettel and VNPT are two of the largest telecommunications service providers in Vietnam. The former is owned by Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence, whereas the latter is owned by the country’s national post office.

In December last year, Viettel launched a 5G commercial trial in Hanoi and VNPT also had the go-ahead to trial 5G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Vietnam’s top telco gives itself a makeover to attract young consumers

Vietnam’s leading telecommunications provider, Viettel, plans to rid itself of its ‘trustworthy but old-fashioned’ image in a bid to attract the attention of the young Vietnamese consumers.

As part of a major rebranding effort, the mobile carrier will be expanding its range of products and services, and start selling next-generation digital services, such as cloud computing and cybersecurity packages.

Viettel’s years-old orange and green logo has been replaced with a brand new, striking red icon that also symbolises the colour of Vietnam’s national flag.

According to Mr. Le Dang Dung, Acting President and General Director of Viettel Group, the launch of a new identity shows Viettel’s commitment to maintaining itself as the country’s pioneering and leading digital services provider.

The company’s slogan, originally “Say it your way”, is now “Your way”. The first two words have been truncated for a shorter slogan that conveys flexibility.

On top of that, Viettel will also be expanding its businesses into six tech-related sectors: digital infrastructure, solutions, content, financial services, cybersecurity, and research and development.

Founded in 1989 and owned by the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence, Viettel currently serves four out of ten Vietnamese consumers. Besides Vietnam, Viettel also provides mobile services in 11 countries including neighbouring Cambodia and Myanmar, and Haiti, Peru and Tanzania.

Vietnam’s telco boom

The Vietnamese telecommunications market is a booming market with huge opportunities for local and foreign investors, amid a competitive environment and a positive economic outlook with an average growth of 6-8% GDP expected between 2020 and 2025. With already strong mobile phone penetration and emerging fixed broadband take-up in households, future growth is likely to remain solid despite an aging population over the long term.

Idem Est Research forecasts that mobile subscriptions will continue to grow in the 2019-25 period and fixed broadband subscribers will also continue to grow and increase its household penetration over the same period.

Mobile revenue is growing faster than mobile subscription numbers leading to ARPU growth as the market transitions from 2G & 3G to 4G mobile data services.

Idem Est Research expects the overall telecoms market to grow through to 2025 after a marked slow down in 2018 and 2019 due to legacy 2G voice & SMS revenue pressure partially offset by mobile data growth.

Mobile Subscribers and Revenue

In early 2020, the mobile subscriptions market just passed a tipping point with 3G and 4G subscribers exceeding 2G mobile subscriptions for the first time. Mobile network operators are facing competitive pressure with the market shifting from legacy prepaid voice and SMS to data-centric usage increasingly becoming the sole offering differentiator.

Further, the Capex to GDP ratio remained relatively stable between 2014 and 2018 but has been sliding in 2019 and is expected to remain at the same level through to 2025. Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone invested in line with revenue growth maintaining a stable Capex to Sales Ratio.

Vietnam’s Viettel becomes first 5G carrier in the country

Viettel, Vietnam’s leading telecommunications operator, has become the first in the country to launch 5G for customers.

Viettel users in Vietnam’s Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, and Hai Ba Trung Districts in Hanoi can now enjoy high-speed 5G Internet without a SIM card upgrade.

“Similar to the previous universalisation of cell phones in Vietnam, Viettel, as Vietnam’s largest telecommunications and IT enterprise, will continue to pioneer the creation of a digital society,” said Major General Le Dang Dung, Chairman-cum-General Director of Viettel Group.

The company says that its 5G can reach up to 1.2 to 1.5 Gbps in speed, ten times faster than 4G, and is currently the fastest in Vietnam. This means that users are able to download a 90-minute movie in 30 seconds.

With 5G real-time connectivity, the technology is also expected to make an important contribution to remote medical examination, treatment and surgery in Vietnam.

“The cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure is a must for Industry 4.0,” he added.

Viettel’s 5G base transceiver stations use Non-Standalone Access (NSA) architecture, which is a technology that builds on 4G and allows operators to launch 5G early. 

Typically, when 5G is successfully trialled or rolled out, operators will then transition into Standalone Access (SA) technology.

NSA is also currently being used by major telcos in other countries, such as South Korea’s SK Telecom and KT, Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK.

“Viettel Group has completed the ecosystem from digital infrastructure, digital solutions, digital finance, digital content, logistics and e-commerce, so far, meeting the needs of building e-government and developing digital economy and digital society in Vietnam,” he said.

After Hanoi, Viettel’s 5G will be expanded into Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh. During the trial period, Viettel will provide unlimited 5G data free of charge.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Vietnam Government keeps pushing forward digital transformation with Viettel and FPT partnerships

The Vietnam Government continues to push forward with their digital transformation efforts, empowered by partnerships with Viettel and FPT.

As part of their Made-in-Vietnam initiatives, the military-run telecoms group launched an artificial intelligence platform known as the Viettel AI Open Platform.

The platform will provide technologies and organisations using AI with help to automate, optimise and efficiently operate, focusing on areas like speech processing, natural language processing and computer vision.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Nguyen Thanh Hung, described the Industry 4.0 technology as the heart of digital transformation, which is fundamentally changing production around the world.

Nguyen Manh Quy, the Director of Viettel Cyberspace Centre, announced the platform will be free for individuals and businesses that registered during its application development phase to strengthen research cooperation and boost the national digital transformation programme.

Speeding up digital transformation with homegrown blockchain

Early last month, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications also launched akaChain, an enterprise blockchain platform developed by FPT Software, a leading IT firm in the country.

The platform is one of few Made-in-Vietnam initiatives hand-picked by the Government to accelerate their digital transformation efforts in the public and private sectors.

“As COVID-19 looms large, it is more important than ever to take their business online,” said Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung.

Despite the common association with cryptocurrency, akaChain platform is expected to help businesses speed up their transformation processes through blockchain applications like electronic Know Your Customer, credit scoring, loyalty programs and traceability.

“From retail, supply chain, to financial services, blockchain applications have moved beyond cryptocurrencies,” said Tran Dang Hoa, FPT Software’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Establised in 2018, the platform is built on Hyperledger Fabric, which acts as the foundation for developing applications with transparency and ease – a demand of digital businesses requiring speed to market.

“We are excited to be part of the national digital transformation program and help the Vietnamese Government to build early foundations for a digital economy, digital society, and e-Government,” Mr. Tran added.

FPT Software is now working on another solution to develop Digital IDs based on the akaChain platform to enable easier and faster ways to prove one’s identity, which is becoming increasingly important for contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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