Vietnamese telecom giants Viettel and Mobifone received trial licenses to “commercially test” 5G in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, the country’s two largest cities, according to a local news report by VnExpress.
Vietnam’s largest service provider, military-run Viettel publicly said that it will not adopt Huawei’s 5G technologies, using Nokia equipment instead during the trial. The firm will be able to test in Hanoi with a maximum of 140 base stations, while MobiFone will conduct the trial in Ho Chi Minh City with 50 stations, according to the report. The test will allow the companies to “evaluate their technology and market size” before commercial operations commence.
Viettel, which claimed to have developed its own 5G radio network base stations, announced in January that it planned to roll out commercial 5G mobile services in June, according to a Reuters report. However, this was postponed without stating any reasons.
Fitch Solutions, the research arm of credit rating agency Fitch Ratings, explained that the COVID-19 pandemic may cause delays to 5G launches, “which has forced operators to increase investments into their existing 4G networks and raise bandwidth on existing fixed broadband connections.”
The research firm added that “Viettel had to double bandwidth for all fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) subscribers and, together with other state-owned operators VinaPhone and MobiFone, introduce bigger mobile data allocations.”
Viettel is set to deploy the frequencies between 2500 and 2600 MHz, as well as the 3700 to 3800 MHz and 27100 to 27500 MHz band for the commercial test, while the government-owned MobiFone will use 2600 MHz, according to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
The Vietnamese government plans to launch 5G commercially by 2021, which is seen as a springboard to the so-called fourth industrial revolution. The country also plans to reduce the number of 2G subscribers from 24 million to 5 to 7 million by 2022, to free up more bandwidth for 3G, 4G, and the 5G network.