Vietnam’s leading telcos have begun to expand their 5G service tests as they prepare to launch their services in 2021, aligning with the national government’s goal of making Vietnam an early adopter of 5G technologies.
Vinaphone became the first telecom to conduct 5G commercial tests in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and did multiple systems integrity tests in January.
At the same time Vinaphone also unveiled its 5G routers, which have been developed in partnership with Nokia. The Vinaphone router collects 5G waves and broadcasts them as Wi-fi signals, enabling Internet use in households without the need for fibre optic cables.
Military-backed Viettel announced it made commercial tests of its 5G network in Hanoi on November 30, and that when compared to 4G speeds, the 5G system download speeds were 10 times faster than of 4G when the user was stationary, and five times faster when the user was travelling in a vehicle.
Viettel has since constructed 100 base stations in Hanoi’s three downtown districts, and users with 5G devices can start using the technology without the need to change their SIM cards. All the telcos are currently providing free data to promote 5G, but have not decided what the rates will be.
Viettel has announced that it plans to expand to Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City during the first quarter of 2021 and will continue to add additional stations in Hanoi.
The first 5G phone call in Vietnam was made in January, using equipment manufactured by military-owned Viettel, which has been conducting non-commercial tests and installing equipment since last year.
Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) earlier this year received a license to begin 5G commercial services in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The state-owned telecom firm is the third Vietnamese telco to be allowed to begin its tests, after Viettel and Mobifone. The company will be allowed to conduct tests using a maximum of 50 base transceiver stations each in Hanoi and HCMC.
Vietnam media sources and industry observers say that interest is still low and it will take at least 2 to 3 years before a large number of Vietnamese are using 5G services.