Opportunities and challenges for developing 5G in Vietnam

December 16, 2021 | 12:55
Globally, 5G is positioned as a primary driver of future prosperity and security. It provides exponential improvements across multiple technical metrics, including connectivity, speed, and latency. The technology provides incredibly fast network connections, enabling consumers, small- and medium-sized enterprises, and governments to harness the power of the internet more effectively than ever before.
By Philip Ziter-Senior associate, Russin & Vecchi’s Ho Chi Minh City office
Philip Ziter - Senior associate, Russin & Vecchi’s Ho Chi Minh City office

This dramatic increase in speed and connectivity is a boon to innovation, enabling the development of new products and services, spurring economic growth and activity.

Along with innovation and new developments, 5G will enhance and enable critical services. Precision agriculture, construction and mining, digitalised education, connected healthcare, smart manufacturing, intelligent retail, and connected smart cities are areas where development will be catalysed and enabled by 5G coverage.

Security of data on 5G communications infrastructure is a key security interest of national significance. The security of 5G networks, as it relates to equipment or software, is critical. Thus, great care is placed on avoiding implementation of products developed, manufactured, or supplied by companies under the control or influence of a foreign government whose national security interests are perhaps not aligned with those of Vietnam.

By virtue of its high capacity and ultra-low latency, 5G will enable meaningful adoption of AI enabled technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) applications across a range of sectors. As enterprises employ 5G to process and analyse increasingly greater volume of data, and as businesses become better equipped to monetise these huge volumes of data, revenues and valuations can increase.

Private 5G networks have the potential to revolutionise container ports, warehousing and logistics, airports, hospitals, hospitality, manufacturing, farming, and more.

In healthcare, for example, doctors and patients will be more connected than ever. An internal defibrillator could automatically alert emergency room cardiologists of a patient experiencing symptoms, allowing physicians to prepare, complete with a full record of data collected in real time.

Data will fuel the growth of most sectors, and agriculture is no exception. Farms will continue to consume more data, resulting in the need for fewer chemicals. Sensors installed directly in fields allow farmers to identify which areas require additional water, pest management, or show signs of an invasive disease.

As economies of scale and manufacturing efficiencies make wearable technology more affordable, 5G enables networks with large numbers of IoT devices. For example, farmers can use health monitoring devices for livestock, gaining much more accurate and timely health data. This allows for significant reductions in the use of antibiotics, without risking the safety of food supply chains.

Meanwhile, the convergence of AI and IoT powered by 5G will result in major transformations to factory floors. Predictive maintenance will help minimise downtime and reduce costs. Factories will also utilise 5G to analyse and control industrial processes with an exceptional degree of precision, not possible prior to 5G. Traditional quality control processes, will be streamlined via sensor technology and AI – all made possible thanks to vast improvements in connectivity offered by 5G.

In logistics and shipping, 5G allows greater communication between vehicles of a fleet. Vehicles can also communicate with infrastructure along the route. Navigation and monitoring of vehicles will improve, resulting in better route planning, shorter delivery times, and lower instances of driver error and accidents. Augmented reality systems used to identify potential hazards, without diverting a driver’s attention away from the road, could be employed and powered by 5G.

In terms of sustainable development, a traditionally agricultural-based economy like Vietnam has experienced rapid digital transformation driven by the government’s push toward improvements to the digital identity, digital citizenship, and digital lifestyle components.

Digital transformation is viewed as a key factor to boosting the economy. 5G enables initiatives aimed at improving smart water use, innovative energy inventory and management for large buildings, smart traffic management technology, and remote sensors that compile air quality data.

As technology advances, legal developments often lag. Recent and impending changes to Vietnam’s data protection law have the potential to restrict the free flow of data, but the implications on data intensive technologies powered by 5G are yet to be seen. A clear legal framework is needed to bolster investor confidence and drive innovation.

By Philip Ziter - Senior associate, Russin & Vecchi’s Ho Chi Minh City office

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