The country's three largest mobile service providers, VinaPhone, MobiFone and Viettel, confirmed they had a growing number of 3G subscribers after nearly two years of providing the service.

Ngo Dien Hy, director of VinaPhone's centre for value-added services, said the number of 3G subscribers had grown rapidly in the last six months.

Vinaphone reports that nearly two million subscribers use its 3G service frequently and that the service now accounts for about 13 percent of its sales revenue.

A rapidly growing number of customers were interested in 3G services, said Hy, adding that last year only about 800,000 customers had subscribed for the service.

Vinaphone said the high growth of subscribers was attributed to the launch of many value added 3G services such as multimedia, mobile games, music and news.

The company also cited its official distribution of iPhones in Vietnam in March 2010 as a contributing factor to the increase in 3G customers as Iphone subscribers use a lot of the data services.

Hy forecasts that the number of 3G subscribers would grow strongly in the next three years thanks to the increasing number of smart phones using the Android operating system.

Nguyen Ngoc Trinh, head of Mobiphone's network technology division, confirmed growth in Mobiphone's number of 3G subscribers. Company statistics show that up to 18 percent of consumers aged between 15 and 25 regularly use multimedia services although revenue from the services was primarily restricted to VIP subscribers which make up only 20 percent of customers.

An executive at the military-run Viettel Telecoms recently said 3G was growing in Vietnam . Viettel aimed to make gains in the area by offering cheaper packages that would make 3G more popular, he said.

"Demand for mobile broadband services is beginning to develop as demand for 2G service dwindles. I believe that late this year or early 2012 will be the time of 3G. Therefore, the investment strategy for widespread 3G at Viettel will meet customers' broadband needs," he said./.