Star Telecom (Unitel), a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel Global JSC and Laos Asia Telecom, sets to provide high-speed Internet access to 80 percent of the Lao population by 2020. (Photo: VNA)

Vientiane (VNA) - Star Telecom (Unitel), a joint venture between Vietnam’s Viettel Global JSC and Laos Asia Telecom, sets to provide high-speed Internet access to 80 percent of the Lao population by 2020, according to Unitel General Director Cao Anh Son.

Son announced the goal at a ceremony to celebrate the 10th founding anniversary of Viettel Global and the 9th establishment of Unitel in Vientiane on October 16.

Present at the event were Minister of National Defence Chansamone Chanyalath, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Thansamay Kommasith and Minister of Industry Khemmani Pholsena of Laos, Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos Nguyen Ba Hung and Deputy General Director of the Viettel Military Industry and Telecomes Group Tao Duc Thang, among others.

In his welcome remarks, Son briefed the guests on what Unitel has achieved over almost the past decade, saying the firm is now the biggest telecom service provider in Laos with about 3 million mobile subscribers, making up 54 percent of the local market share.

Unitel has around 6,500 base transceiver stations (BTSs) and 30,000 km of fiber optic cable that reach all districts in Laos, he said, adding that the company has brought telecom services to many remote areas to reduce development gaps between urban and rural people and boost socio-economic growth in the country.

Son noted that from its launch in 2009 to the end of 2017, the firm has contributed over 485 million USD to the Lao state budget, earned 1.35 billion USD in cumulative revenue and provided 13 million USD for social projects in Laos.

Unitel has supported more than 900 schools in accessing the Internet and provided services for high-level meetings between the governments of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia on the online platform. It has also helped the Government of Laos develop Lao fonts for desktop and mobile to promote better communication between Lao people, he said.

The company received a second-class Labour Order bestowed by the Lao Government in recognition for its decade-long relentless effort in the local socio-economic development.

Son took the occasion to thank the Party, State and people of Laos for their support since its establishment, saying it was among key factors for the firm’s success today.

Unitel is committed to remain as a pioneer in the industry and a symbol of the strong relationship between Vietnam and Laos to further nurture the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two Parties, States and people, he stressed.

Unitel, in which Viettel owns a 49 percent share, was founded in October 2009. It is among Viettel’s telecom subsidiaries overseas alongside those in Cambodia, East Timor, Cameroon, Haiti, Mozambique, Burundi, Peru, Tanzania and Myanmar.–VNA