Vietnam may refarm existing 3G networks to commercialise 5G

Vietnam may refarm existing 3G networks to commercialise 5G

Can provide a quick opportunity for the country to lead its 5G game.

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With Vietnam announcing the auction of 4G and 5G frequencies, analysts said that the network operators may refarm existing 3G networks to commercialise 5G. 

Counterpoint’s senior research analyst, Glen Cardoza, told iTnews Asia that the country sees refarming as a quick opportunity to lead its 5G game. 

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has announced plans to auction frequencies for the 2300-2400 MHz waveband for network operators to develop 4G and 5G. 

Each winning bid will receive 30MHz of spectrum, divided up as 2300MHz-2330MHz; 2330MHz-2360MHz; and 2360MHz-2390MHz priced at 12.88 billion Vietnamese Dong (S$22 million) per MHz per annum. The companies are allowed to use the wavebands for 15 years.

Cardoza said the spectrum in the 2300-2400 MHz range is widely used for mobile services due to its relatively common availability.

“Operators may refarm existing 3G networks on these frequencies to re-purpose for 5G networks. It provides excellent range and building penetration,” he added. 

Businesses participating in the auction can use the radio frequencies to deploy the network and telecommunication service that uses IMT-Advanced (4G) or IMT-2020 (5G) technologies.

According to the MIC, it had previously granted licenses to telecom carriers to try 5G in 40 centrally run cities and provinces.

In 2022, MIC encouraged telcos to continue experimenting with 5G apps, assess demand and build technical solutions for the best business plans to obtain licences.

In the early stages of 5G, Vietnam is looking to provide 5G services at industrial parks, schools, research institutes, and government agencies, Cardoza added. 

“As the country is quite late with 5G commercialisation, it looks to improve infrastructure for industries to begin 5G adoption. This will quickly trickle down to mainstream public usage at least in metros and tier1 locations,” he said. 

However, experts say that 4G will still be the “primary network” for Vietnam, while 5G will develop rapidly from 2025. 

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