Several mobile carriers are seeking approval from the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority to deploy the fourth generation (4G) network, the Saigon Times Daily reported.

Speaking at a Vietnam Internet Day in Ho Chi Minh City recently, Le Thi Ngoc Mo, deputy head of the authority, said they could start 4G services next year. Experts said at the event that it is the right time for Vietnam to provide 4G services.

Thieu Phuong Nam, General Director of Qualcomm Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, was quoted as saying that prices of devices that can run on the 4G network have dropped.

On the other hand, 4G has grown fast in Southeast Asia and the world as a whole, making it possible to lower the cost of the service.

Nam said Vietnam’s current policy and strategy were conductive to the development of 4G frequencies, so authorities should issue licences for network operators to prepare for the launch of 4G services.

Asked by the Daily if it was too early and wasteful to develop 4G networks in Vietnam next year, Nam said it did not mean 4G networks would supersede 3G networks. The two kinds of network could co-exist.

In places where there are no 4G networks, users could still use 3G, and this can save 4G network investment costs.

According to the Vietnam Internet Association, Vietnam had 26 million 3G subscribers as of October this year after three years of development.

A survey by Business Monitor International, a UK-based market research firm, showed 36 million out of 92 million Vietnamese people use the Internet while 34 percent of the population use mobile Internet services.

The firm also found that 33 percent of Vietnamese Internet subscribers buy goods online.

The association’s chairman Vu Hoang Lien said 3G services had helped people have easy access to the Internet in large cities. 3G coverage could be extended to rural areas in the coming time.-VNA