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Vietnam to discontinues service for non-compliant 2G phones starting March 1

Vietnam to discontinues service for non-compliant 2G phones starting March 1

Sunday, February 25, 2024, 19:25 GMT+7
Vietnam to discontinues service for non-compliant 2G phones starting March 1
This illustration image shows a mobile phone using 2G technology, which will be switched off in Vietnam from March 1, 2024 to make room for the growth of more advanced technologies.

Vietnam will begin blocking signals for non-compliant 2G mobile phones as part of its broader plan to fully phase out the 2G network in September this year.

This move aims to create space for the advancement of more modern telecommunications technologies, according to telecom authorities.

In a recent announcement, the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority (VTA) under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has instructed all mobile phone service providers to cease accepting subscribers with mobile phones that exclusively support 2G technology (2G-only phones) unless they are on the MIC list of conformity certification.

Those 2G phones that are included in the conformity certification list will be allowed to continue operating until September, news site Dan Tri reported, citing the VTA.

It matches the planned complete shutdown of the 2G network as directed by the MIC.

The VTA further noted that by that time, all the frequency licenses issued to mobile network operators for operating the 2G network will expire.

Users of 2G phones should contact their mobile service providers for more information and instructions related to this issue, the agency advised.

The 2G mobile network, implemented in Vietnam 21 years ago, has become obsolete and is no longer able to meet the growing demands of users or be commensurate with the development trends in the telecommunications sector, the MIC said.

Experts have highlighted that the 2G network harbors numerous vulnerabilities, providing an opportunity for cybercriminals to exploit them for the distribution of spam and fake messages to user devices through 2G waves.

This, in turn, poses a significant threat, potentially causing substantial damage to users.

The system should be therefore shut down to promote the implementation of the National Digital Transformation Program by 2025 with a vision to 2030, which includes the universalization of 4G/5G mobile networks and smartphones to Vietnamese consumers, the VTA said.

The full discontinuation of 2G services is aimed at maximizing the utilization of frequency resources, facilitating the development and enhancement of 4G and higher technologies.

This strategic move is expected to optimize operational costs and, consequently, lead to the provision of improved services for users, the VTA added.

The MIC has previously issued instructions to telecom service providers, guiding them in creating roadmaps and plans for the switch-off of 2G mobile services.

These guidelines are designed to assist users in transitioning to more advanced networks such as 4G and 5G, the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

As of December 2023, Vietnam had approximately 15 million 2G subscribers, constituting roughly 13 percent of the total mobile network subscriptions, the MIC portal said.

Since 2020, the MIC has banned the import of 2G devices, and there is a target to introduce 6G technology by 2030, VNA cited Nguyen Phong Nha, deputy director of VTA, as saying.

The shutdown of 2G services has been carried out in many other countries, such as Japan in 2011, Singapore in 2017, and China in 2021.

By mid-2023, 149 mobile service providers globally had initiated the closedown of older-generation networks, with 63 percent of the European countries having phased out the 2G network, the MIC quoted information from the UK-based Global System for Mobile Communications Association as showing.

In Asia, the figure stood at over 20 percent.

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Vinh Tho - Tuoi Tre Online / Tuoi Tre News

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