The authorities in Vietnam are planning on deployment of 4G/LTE technology, in the country by 2016. This was revealed by global telecommunications companies during the 4G LTE Summit on Thursday in the capital city of Hanoi.
“Investing in 4G is essential in the development trend of the telecommunications industry,” said the deputy minister of information and communications Le Nam Thang, adding that the ministry had built a roadmap for the kind of cutting-edge technology, which is expected to be commercially deployed next year.
Some 300 network operators, from around the world have introduced the fourth generation wireless communications service, and the majority of available smartphones are integrated with 4G technology. In Southeast Asia, 4G – also known as long-term evolution (LTE) service – has been successfully implemented in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
It is in the testing phase in countries of the Mekong sub-region.
The US-based semiconductor company Qualcomm forecasts that some 25 billion electronic devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020.
The current figure is at some seven billion mobile connections, 3.6 billion of which are network subscribers. “It is a very large number and contributes directly to the GDP of each country globally,” said Mantosh Malhotra, the regional head for Qualcomm in Southeast Asia and Pacific. “By 2020, the mobile sector will contribute more than five per cent of the world’s GDP.”
Another prediction bySweden’s Ericsson shows that by 2020, there will be 3.5 billion 4G subscribers, equal to 70 per cent of the world’s population, from the current estimated 500 million subscribers. In addition, within the next five years, Asia Pacific will be the leading in the number of new subscribers, at 1.8 billion users.
According to Thieu Phuong Nam, head of Qualcomm Indochina, 4G is developing strongly, and the conditions in Vietnam are sufficient to deploy, both in terms of the state policies and in infrastructure. LTE price has substantially declined, with the cost of delivering data per bite becoming lower than in 3G technology. “It is a perfect timing for Vietnam to implement,” added Mantosh.
He said: “We have seen growth in data usage by 7 per cent week on week, being used for communications, enterprises and work-related activities, access to healthcare in rural areas or education by broadcasting lecture.”
While the demand is increasing, the benefits to the Vietnamese economy will also be huge. The investment and research practices in this technology has already stretched to other verticals, rather than just the mobile phones, tablets.It is being deployed in other industries like, automobile, healthcare, smarthomes and smart cities.
The conference on Thursday attracted global terminal manufacturers and network operators, who have committed to support Vietnam in building its 4G/LTE technology ecosystem. In fact, The Vietnamese ministry of information and communications has chosen FPT Telecom, the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, Viettel, CMC Corporation and VTC Telecom for a pilot program to develop this technology.
To support the development of 4G in the Vietnamese market, Qualcomm, one of the attendee at the conference, said it will offer consultancy on how to achieve the highest return on investment, when switching from 3G to 4G, in addition to providing products.
The 3G data service was launched in Vietnam five years ago and has reached a wide coverage across the country, from 7 million subscribers in 2009 to 29 million by January this year.