A new report from Fitch Solutions tips Vietnam for a swift transition to 5G given the government’s support for the technology and the country’s device manufacturing sector.
Vietnam began trialling 5G in May this year, and Fitch has predicted that commercial services could launch by mid-2020. The country’s government is pushing for the introduction of 5G, and Fitch expects this to continue with the advent of enterprise grants and test beds.
The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lead to operators delaying commercial 5G launches as they divert investment towards boosting their 4G capacity. However, Fitch noted that the state-owned operators active in Vietnam could be pressured to stick to the government’s desired 5G timeline.
Major operators Mobifone, Viettel and Vinaphone have all seen demand for mobile data surge during the pandemic after the government introduced lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All three operators have increased data allowances for their subscribers.
While Vietnam’s government has not yet issued 5G licences – whether via auction or allocation – the country’s operators were granted trial licences in 2019, which Fitch notes could be converted.
Viettel achieved the country’s first 5G connection in May 2019, while in March this year Mobifone claimed it was ready to launch commercial 5G after successfully trialling a network covering four Vietnamese cities.
The operators have selected overseas vendors for their 5G deployments, with Mobifone using equipment from Samsung and Vinaphone tapping Nokia. The market leading Viettel has deals in place with Nokia and Ericsson, but has also stated that it is developing 5G equipment in-house.
Vietnam also looks set to begin production on 5G smartphones, with the Vingroup conglomerate striking a manufacturing deal with Fujitsu and Qualcomm in June last year. According to Fitch, this could lead to more affordable devices which would accelerate the adoption of 5G. However, the firm noted that the advent of 5G in Vietnam will be felt most acutely in the enterprise sector rather than the consumer segment.