5G to come online in Vietnam mid-2021: telecom authority

By Luu Quy   December 18, 2020 | 01:08 am PT
5G to come online in Vietnam mid-2021: telecom authority
An Internet connection speed test is run on a smartphone with 5G in Hanoi, November 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.
The Ministry of Information and Communications would officially approve 5G services next year following two years of trials.

"Following commercial trials, service providers must evaluate the associated results regarding technical features, commercial potential, business models and market demand," Nguyen Phong Nha, head of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA) under the ministry, said at a Thursday meeting.

The ministry expects to approve 5G services in mid-2021, Nha said.

However, nationwide deployment would not commence immediately, dependent on market demand. For example, major cities like Hanoi, HCMC or Da Nang would be prioritized due to their need for high-speed services and their denser populations. The same goes for industrial areas with foreign investments, where "smart" factories are a necessity, he said.

Three major telecom providers VNPT, MobiFone, and Viettel have been commercially trialing 5G services. Since November, users of these three providers could have tried 5G connections themselves in trialed areas and with 5G-supported smartphones.

5G trials by VNPT and Viettel boasted a speed of up to 1 Gbps, 10 times greater than that of 4G.

Telecom providers in Vietnam are expecting to price 5G services at the same rate as their 4G equivalents, and would not require users to change their SIM cards.

A VNPT representative said at the conference: "5G would be free during trial periods, at least until the end of January 2021. After that, its price would be similar to 4G." A MobiFone rep concurred.

For the next two years, 5G usage would focus on industrial areas and major cities, and from 2023 to 2025, would be distributed as widely as 4G, reaching even rural areas, according to a telecom provider representative attending the event.

Vietnam plans to provide 5G coverage nationwide by 2030, offering all citizens broadband Internet connection at low cost, according to VNTA.

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