Vietnam mulls shutting down 2G network in 2022

By Nguyen Ha   October 8, 2019 | 08:16 pm PT
Vietnam mulls shutting down 2G network in 2022
A farmer talks on a cell phone on a rice paddy field outside Hanoi, Vietnam, July 3, 2017. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Vietnam is planning to shut down its 2G network as a technology no longer suitable for advancing the nation’s telecom sector.

Under a roadmap being considered by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the shutdown process would be initiated on January 1, 2022.

2G, short for second-generation cellular technology, is capable of providing wide network coverage and enables mobile phone users to make or receive phone calls in many areas across the world. The technology, however, does not let users download data, emails or access the internet.

According to the ministry, the 2G trend is dying out and is increasingly being replaced by more advanced technologies.

In Vietnam, the telecommunications networks are already employing three different technologies: GSM (2G) which was deployed in 1999, IMT 2000 (3G) deployed in 2009 and LTE-A (4G) deployed in 2016.

The shutting down of 2G network would free up frequencies which could then be used for newer technologies in order to improve efficiency and meet the increasing spectrum demands of telecom companies.

It would also help save a significant amount of resources and operating expenses for network operators and the country, and would allow for more human resources to be focused on developing new network technologies like 5G.

According to forecasts by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), the percentage of 2G subscribers worldwide will decline from 40 percent in 2017 to just 6 percent in 2025. The number of 2G terminal equipment sold on the market would also drop drastically, making up only 15.1 percent by 2023.

The Authority of Radio Frequency Management under the Ministry of Information and Communications has also reported that the number of 2G subscribers in Vietnam dropped from 107 million in 2014 to 72 million in mid 2018.

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