Vietnam’s market leader Viettel has snubbed Chinese suppliers for its 5G network buildout, instead opting for equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.
As reported by Bloomberg, the group’s CEO Le Dang Dung put it bluntly, saying: “There were reports that it’s not safe to use Huawei. So Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones. We are not going to work with Huawei right now. It’s a bit sensitive with Huawei now.”
In January this year, Viettel was awarded a licence to conduct 5G trials over the 3.8GHz and 28GHz bands in the country’s largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. To date, the operator’s 5G investments total around $40 million. In May this year, Viettel partnered with Ericsson to showcase Vietnam’s first 5G connection.
Viettel has used Huawei equipment for extensive network rollouts in the past, but its surprise announcement reflects the mood of operators in Vietnam with regard to 5G deployments. Mobifone has selected Samsung as its 5G provider, and while Vinaphone does not yet have a trial licence it is believed to be in talks with Nokia.
Chinese vendors are expanding internationally and typically undercut their western rivals in terms of price, but security concerns surrounding Huawei in particular have proven to be something of a deterrent among global operators.
Viettel has a market share of over 40% in Vietnam, and also has presence in Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, East Timor, Haiti, Laos, Mozambique, Myanmar, Peru and Tanzania.