The increasing number of 3G subscribers in Vietnam is set to boost the use of Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) in the country, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Le Nam Thang said at a conference in Hanoi on May 6.

The conference was organised by the Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre (VNNIC) to celebrate Vietnam IPv6 Day 2015.

Thang said many important activities were held in 2014 to boost the development of IPv6 in accordance with the national action plan, but some issues still needed to be resolved.

He said the capacity of IPv6 and the proportion of its users in Vietnam were small by international standards.

"Although there are a remarkable number of Vietnamese IPv6 addresses and networks in the global routing table, the lack of users shows that most Internet service providers in Vietnam only prepare core networks, not access networks, when providing IPv6 to clients," Thang said.

He said 2015 was the final year in the kick-off period of the national action plan on the development of IPv6.

Preparations during the period aimed to ensure the readiness of the Internet infrastructure for implementing IPv6 and to provide some services in the IPv6 environment.

Thang said the ministry had asked telecom companies and VNNIC to upgrade the national Internet infrastructure so that networks could completely support IPv6 by the end of this year.

At the conference, representatives of Vietnamese mobile operators MobiFone, Viettel, and VinaPhone said they would switch 3G subscribers to IPv6 and roll it out on a 4G Long-term evolution (LTE) network in the coming period.

The largest Vietnamese mobile network operator, Viettel, will start switching its 3G clients to IPv6 and implementing IPv6 on the 4G LTE network from mid-2016. The country's second largest network, MobiFone, will make the switch from mid-2016 to mid-2020.

VinaPhone is expected to transfer to IPv6 over several periods and will continue to maintain the use of IPv4. The switch will take place by the end of 2015 and will be completed in mid-2020.-VNA