Mobile operators at the ready to launch 4G services
Viettel, VinaPhone, and MobiFone are preparing for piloting their 4G services before the official launch in the first quarter of 2017, as ordered by the Minister of Information and Communications.
VinaPhone was the first 4G services provider, debuting in November 2016 in Phu Quoc where it first tested and installed 4G base transceiver stations (BTS).
Luong Manh Hoang, deputy general director of VNPT and chairman of VNPT VinaPhone, said that VNPT VinaPhone focuses on speed and stability. After Phu Quoc Island, VinaPhone will deploy 4G in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and 10 more focal provinces and cities. He also added that the company is going to install about 21,000 4G BTS in 2017 to ensure coverage all around the country.
After VinaPhone’s daring pioneering, Viettel has also been providing free 4G SIM cards to their users in 1,600 locations nationwide since the end of 2016 till the end of February. According to a VIR source, Viettel was intent on officially launching 4G services in the middle of January 2017, however, they had to delay the programme due to “technological problems.”
Similar to Viettel, from January 25 to March 31, MobiFone has launched their free 4G SIM card campaign. MobiFone users who convert to or buy 4G SIMs and successfully install the application mConnect will be able to download 1.5 GB of data every day for three days. Notably, the first 1000 registered customers will receive MobiFone vouchers, each worth VND500,000 ($22). Up till now, there has been 1 million users converting their SIM cards to use 4G services.
Beside the installation of 4G BTS and staging test runs, network providers also promote building digital content on the basis of 4G technology. They have also finished plans of diversifying services, including high-speed data, among others.
Recently, the Minister of Information and Communications has asked its associate agencies to soon organise the auction of the 2.6 GHz broad band so that it can be completed by the end of the second quarter in 2017.
The appearance of 4G services opens up many opportunities for foreign investors to become involved in the Vietnamese telecom market. Currently, of all 37 million Vietnamese users, only 5 per cent have devices compatible with 4G services. It is hoped that this will be a chance to launch new products and services.
By Tu An, VIR