Vietnam eyes 5G equipment sale to US

By Dat Nguyen   January 21, 2020 | 07:55 pm PT
Vietnam eyes 5G equipment sale to US
A man installs 5G equipment in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Viettel.
Vietnam hopes to sell locally-made 5G equipment to the U.S. as it prepares commercial launch of the telecom technology this year.

Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung proposed to a delegation of the U.S. House of Representatives Monday that they initiate discussions of 5G technical standards to see if made-in-Vietnam equipment could enter the U.S. market.

Vietnam plans to commence commercial operations of 5G this year, becoming among the first countries in ASEAN to do so, he said.

The minister had set the stage for launching the new telecommunications technology by making the first 5G phone call on January 17, using equipment manufactured by Vietnamese telecom giant Viettel.

The military-run Viettel is set to become the sixth firm in the world to launch its own 5G equipment after Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and ZTE.

Viettel plans to commercially launch 5G services this June. It has been testing and installing equipment since last year.

Hung, a former Viettel CEO, has been pushing 5G research in Vietnam since taking over as communications minister towards the end of 2018. He asked local firms to produce their own equipment so that Vietnam is among the first countries in the world to launch the 5G technology.

The number of 5G subscriptions in Vietnam could hit 6.3 million by 2025 or 6 percent of total mobile subscriptions, technology conglomerate Cisco has forecast.

In ASEAN, Singapore is expected to lead the way in launching 5G in 2020, followed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Thailand, according to U.S. consulting firm AT Kearney.

5G is said to offer speeds 100 times faster than 4G and support new applications like remote medical procedures and autonomous driving.

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