Fourth generation (4G) mobile phone services are expected to see a strong development in ​Vietnam this year. (Photo: vnmedia)

Hanoi (VNA)
- Fourth generation (4G) mobile phone services are expected to see a strong development in the country this year, accelerating the completion of national programmes such as e-Government, Smart City and Smart Agriculture, said Pham Hong Hai, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication (MIC).

Hai told a 4G international conference held in Hanoi last week that domestic telecom providers have installed 43,000 base transceiver stations (BTSs), which are able to provide 4G services to 95 percent of the country’s population. Vietnam has 6.3 million subscribers using 4G SIM.

“The implementation of 4G has been an important turning point for Vietnam’s telecom market,” he said.

He added that with the increase of connection speed and data, the traditional internet services would change fast. In addition, a range of new services and applications, such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart City, would be developed based on 4G foundation.

The ministry granted licences to the country’s four big telecom providers to launch 4G based on LTE and LTE-Adv technologies at the end of 2016.

The Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) planned to bring nearly 15,000 4G BTSs into operation this year to cover central areas of 63 cities and provinces.

The military-run telecom group, Viettel inaugurated 4G services nationwide in April with 36,000 BTSs.

MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation built 4,500 BTS and is planning to install 30,000 more in the 2017-18 period.

Tran Tuan Anh, Head of the MIC's Policy and International Co-operation Division, said the 4G growth rate has been relatively fast. "However, the growth of 4G against 3G in Vietnam has not been high in comparison with other countries in the world,” Anh said.

He expected the number of 4G subscribers to rapidly increase.

Thieu Phuong Nam, General Director of Qualcomm Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, said the 4G growth rate in Vietnam has been impressive. Forecasts indicate that 60 percent or 120 million mobile devices sold in the country would support 4G connection by 2020.

Nam said the 4G LTE continues strong development in the world. More than 580 4G LTE networks have been launched and commercialised in 186 countries and territories. “Network providers in 47 countries and territories have prepared to increase the speed of 4G services to 1.2 Gbps,” he added.

Experts believe the successful implementation of 4G LTE and 5G will help the country catch up with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Vu Hoang Lien, Chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association, said the wireless broadband infrastructure has played an extremely important role in the revolution, promoting development of all kinds of technologies and services, especially IoT.

Nam agreed, saying that 4G LTE has helped Vietnam complete and upgrade its IT infrastructure, providing the foundation for the country to complete national programmes, such as e-Government, Smart City and Smart Agriculture.

Nam added that 4G LTE would provide new business opportunities to telecom providers, digital content suppliers and equipment producers, as well as the overall mobile phone ecosystem in Vietnam.

“We have been active in supporting network providers in developing technologies, maximising network infrastructure and ensuring compatibility with end-to-end connectivity support. The accerlation of technologies and implementation of latest LTE would be important for Vietnam to have a firm pre-condition for 5G development,” he noted.

Participants at the event discussed opportunities and challenges on the road map of building and developing 4G LTE in Vietnam, while introducing international experience in a bid to maximise the 4G potential.-VNA