Vietnam digital development among the fastest in the world

By Dang Khoa   December 26, 2020 | 05:28 am PT
Vietnam digital development among the fastest in the world
Internet speed is measured on a smart phone during a 5G test run in Hanoi, November 30, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Luu Quy.
Vietnam is ranked fifth in the world for digital evolution momentum by the 2020 Digital Intelligence Index (DII).

The "Digital In The Time Of Covid" study conducted by the Tufts University's Fletcher School and Mastercard, measured digitalization of 90 economies using 160 key indicators of digital development across four key drivers.

The key drivers were: supply conditions (e.g. infrastructure, logistic performance), demand conditions (consumer ability and willingness to spend, use of mobile digital money), institutional environment (bureaucracy, investor protections), and innovation and change (start-up capacity, value creation).

Vietnam scored 62.37 points in digital evolution momentum, standing behind China (85.51 points), Azerbaijan (65.28), Indonesia (64.03) and India (62.95).

However, an overall score of 46.79 points saw Vietnam 60th out of 90 global markets, resulting in it being labeled in the "Break Out" zone in the fast digital momentum scorecard.

According to the report, economies in the "Break Out" zone have "lower scores in their present states of digitalization but are evolving rapidly," and also have "significant headroom for growth, which make them highly attractive to innovators and investors."

Markets in this zone have positive attitudes towards technology but are "held back often by relatively weak infrastructure and poor institutional quality."

In the ranking for digital trust which measures consumers' confidence in engaging in activities online, Vietnam stands in 36th place in environment (privacy, security and accountability measures), 30th in experience (infrastructural friction, access friction and interaction friction), 17th in behavior (consumer's level of engagement with the digitalizing world), and third in attitudes (technology's value and information's credibility in digital environment).

The study found Vietnam was placed low in the experience measure because of a lack of seamless online interaction and transaction experiences. However, it achieved higher ranking in behavior and attitudes measures because of high level of engagement via social media, e-commerce and mobile payments, and a positive outlook towards technology.

The report lauded Vietnam, along with Kenya and India, for their efforts in increasing the mobile internet access. Vietnam is now approaching near universal 4G access.

Vietnam plans to drop its current 24 million 2G subscribers, or 18.5 percent of total, to under 5 percent by 2022 so that it can stop this service and push the development of higher-technology cellular networks.

The Ministry of Information and Communications is currently looking to approve two years 5G trials in Vietnam.

Nguyen Phong Nha, head of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA) under the ministry, said the ministry expects to approve 5G services in mid-2021.

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

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

Singapore topped the digital intelligence index with 98.82 points, followed by the U.S., Hong Kong, Finland and Denmark.

The bottom five economies were Laos (86th), Bolivia, Cameroon, Nigeria and Ethiopia (90th).

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