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Vietnam’s Viettel offers 4G service in Burundi even before home launch

Tuesday, March 08, 2016, 17:23 GMT+7

While Viettel is only testing its 4G service on a limited scale at home, the military-run Vietnamese network carrier has officially launched the latest mobile telecommunications technology through a subsidiary in East Africa.

In April 2015, Viettel, which is Vietnam’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers, entered the telecom market of Burundi under the brand of Lumitel.

Despite being the newest market player, Lumitel became the first telecom company to launch the 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology in the East African country late last month.

The 4G network will first cover the centers of such provinces as Bujumbura, Gitega, Ngozi, Rumonge Makamba and Muyinga, Lumitel said on its website.

Lumitel’s 4G boasts ultra-fast Internet that runs at up to 100Mbps, ten times faster than 3G, but users will pay the same subscription price, according to the mobile carrier.

The launch of the 4G service is seen as yet another move for Viettel to strengthen its foothold in Burundi, as it came just less than a year since its presence in the country.

It also took Lumitel only four months from establishment to hit one million subscribers, or 10 percent of Burundi’s population, and the company also boasts the largest network infrastructure in the country.

In Vietnam, Viettel has been testing the latest mobile telecommunications technology in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau since December 2015, more than a month after it was licensed to pilot the 4G service.

The military-run carrier, with 56.4 million subscribers across Vietnam as of the end of last year, also has plans to offer 4G in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which requires greater preparation and investment due to their large population.

Viettel is now offering mobile services in nine foreign markets, including Cambodia, Cameroon, Haiti, Laos, Mozambique, Peru, Timor Leste, Tanzania and Burundi, according to its overseas investment arm Viettel Global.

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