Viettel holds upper hand in final phase of 4G race

April 09, 2017 | 09:20
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4G is going to be officially launched and this will open up a new race among Vietnamese network providers.
Tao Duc Thang, deputy general director of Viettel

Several years ago, network providers in Vietnam had different launching periods of 3G services. At the time, Vinaphone and MobiFone belonged to Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), and they had the advantage of being the first providers to officially launch 3G programmes. Only half a year after VNPT’s 3G rollout could Viettel join the battle.

However, in the 4G race, the situation has changed as four Vietnamese giants have similar launching periods.

Talking to newspapers, Tao Duc Thang, deputy general director of Viettel, said that over the last six months, the firm has installed 36,000 4G base transceiver stations (BTS). This is a record number as there has been no network providers to install so many BTS in such a short time. The leader of Viettel said that the infrastructure has been installed and is ready not only for 4G, but also for 5G and 6G in the future.

Viettel plans to launch 4G all over the country by the middle of April 2017. Also, Thang said that Viettel has the highest number of BTS among all mobile network operators, giving Viettel’ 4G high speed, capacity, and large coverage, consistency, and stability.

Meanwhile, a leader of Vinaphone stated that its preparations for 4G have been basically completed. Only half as many BTS as Viettel, Vinaphone’s 15,000 BTS will ensure 4G coverage in key areas in all the cities of Vietnam. In particular, Danang will have about 400 BTS to serve its key events of the year, the Danang International Fireworks Festival and the APEC Summit 2017.

Two other firms that have also been licensed for 4G, MobiFone and Gtel, have released little new information about their preparations. Some of their publicised news include SIM card conversion, which their competitors have already been doing for months.

MobiFone said that it has installed 4,500 4G BTS. In 2017, MobiFone plans to launch an additional 8,000 4G BTS in 53 provinces. However, in the first phase, MobiFone plans to focus on big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Can Tho, and Danang. In the next phase, this network provider will extend 4G coverage to other provinces, rural and remote areas.

“The implementation of our 4G programme will only be successful when customers are persistently connected at high speed. For this, we have to ensure that 4G is always available. If customers can connect to 4G for only one hour a day and are left with 3G for the remaining 23 hours, that is unacceptable,” Viette’s Tao Duc Thang said.

He said the wide coverage is to ensure high quality to serve old customers and attract new ones, especially as customers are allowed to switch operators while keeping their phone numbers.

Also, he added that the Vietnamese network market has changed significantly over the last decade. In the past, network providers competed by coverage and charges, leaving little room for brands to differentiate themselves. Thus, nowadays, to increase the competitive capacity, their strategies have to change, focusing on quality.

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By By Nhu Loan

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