Vietnam will license its mobile network operators to offer services using the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology next year, the country’s deputy minister of information and communications said Thursday.
The Southeast Asian country has been piloting the 4G technology since 2010 and yielded positive results, so the year 2016 will see its official launch, Le Nam Thang told an international conference in Hanoi.
“The 4G LTE will be the main development trend of the world’s telecom industry in the future,” Deputy Minister Thang said.
“Vietnam will license network operators to offer 4G services to better use its infrastructure… and create an increasingly competitive and developing telecom environment.”
LTE, an abbreviation for Long-Term Evolution, commonly marketed as 4G LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.
It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.
The 4G network enables users to transfer data at a speed that is 20 times faster than the maximum speed they can have with a 3G connection.
At the maximum 4G speed, users can download a movie within five to six seconds, or upload 100 songs in 2.4 seconds.
Most attendees at the conference agreed that 2015 is the prime time for Vietnam to implement the 4G technology but the communications ministry still preferred the following year.
“Upgrading to 4G is like building expressways as it will meet demand of a large number of members of the public,” said Thieu Phuong Nam, general director with Qualcomm Indochina, an American semiconductor company that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services.
In October 2009, state-run Vinaphone became the first mobile network operator in Vietnam to offer 3G services.
The number of 3G subscribers has since expanded rapidly, topping 27.5 million as of the end of last year, according to the Vietnam Telecom Agency.
All three leading mobile network providers in Vietnam offer an unlimited 3G data plan at VND70,000 (US$3.26) a month.
The average speed of 3G connection in Vietnam is 1.43 Mpbs, compared to the global average of 11.6 Mbps, according to NetIndex, a website which measures global broadband and mobile performance data.
There are currently 360 4G LTE networks running in 124 countries and territories around the world, according to the latest data from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association.
Some 400 million subscribers around the world are using 4G LTE services, and the figure is projected to rise to one billion in 2017, according to British business media group Informa.