Vietnam’s three major telecommunications companies have begun to expand their 5G service tests as they prepare to launch their services in conjunction with the national government’s goal of making Vietnam an early adopter of 5G technologies.
According to announcements from the government, Vinaphone became the first telecom to conduct 5G commercial tests in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and did multiple tests last week.
At the same time it began system integrity tests, Vinaphone also unveiled its 5G routers, which have been developed in partnership with Finland’s Nokia. The Vinaphone router collects 5G waves and broadcasts them as wifi signals, enabling Internet use in households without the need for fiber-optic cables.
Viettel, which is owned by Vietnam’s military said that it made commercial tests of its 5G network in Hanoi on November 30, and that when compared to 4G speeds, the 5G system download speeds were 10 times faster than of 4G when the user was stationary, and five times faster when the user was travelling in a vehicle.
Viettel has constructed 100 base stations in Hanoi’s three downtown districts, and users with 5G devices can start experiencing the technology without the need to change their sim cards.
The company says that it plans to expand to Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City during the first quarter of 2021 and will continue to add additional stations in Hanoi.
While the telecom companies are quick to point out their achievements, tech experts say that it will be at least 2 to 3 years before a large number of Vietnamese are using 5G services.
Two key factors that will determine the consumer acceptance of 5G services, are whether current mobile handsets will be compatible with 5G or need to be replaced, and the prices for 5G services that the telecom companies plan to charge for their services.
Related to mobile handsets, many Asus, Nokia, Oppo and Xiaomi handsets can use 5G, but iPhone and Samsung devices will not be able to use 5G until next year.
And related to prices for 5G services, currently the telecom companies are providing free data to promote the new technology, but they have not determined what their monthly fees will be.
At the current time, the Ministry of Information and Communications has limited the rates for 5G services to the same level as for 4G, but operators will be able to changes these rates in the future.