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The circular by the Telecommunications Agency, under the Ministry of Information and Communications, is about to come into effect next July to promote digital transformation by 2025, VNExpress reported.
The ministry is also pushing for the production of low-cost smartphones in the country.
Military-run telecom giant Viettel and smartphone manufacturer VinSmart, a unit of conglomerate Vingroup, have coordinated to help users switch from feature phones to smartphones in nine localities.
State-owned telecom firm VNPT has also come up with solutions to help 2G subscribers switch to smartphones in five localities. Other network service providers like MobiFone and VietnamMobile are also providing similar solutions.
The Telecommunications Agency said that the smartphones being offered under such initiatives cost just VND500,000-600,000 (US$21.6- US$ 25.9) and come with data discounts for low-income users in rural areas.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity company and smartphone maker BKAV has also begun developing feature phones that can connect with 4G networks.
The communications ministry has also ordered network operators to integrate the voice over LTE feature into their 4G network so that more users will use the technology to make phone calls instead of using the traditional network.
The ministry has permitted Viettel and MobiFone to commercially test 5G broadcasting in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and official licenses are set to be given next year.
As of September, there were 88 million smartphone users in Vietnam, up 14 percent year-on-year; 83 million of them 4G capable.
There were 24.67 million 2G users, down nearly 20 percent year-on-year, according to the ministry.
Vietnam grants 5G commercial test licenses to Viettel, MobiFone
Viettel users in Hanoi and MobiFone in Ho Chi Minh City will experience the 5G network in testing process in the coming time.
The trial license of 5G telecommunications services and commercial network were granted to the Military Telecom Industry Group (Viettel) and MobiFone Telecom Corporation at the end of October, said Ministry of Information and Communications.
Accordingly, Viettel is allowed to test a commercial 5G network in Hanoi with the scale not exceeding 140 stations. The firm will be entitled to use planned frequency bands, including the 2,500 - 2,600 MHz, 3,700 - 3,800 MHz, and 27,100 - 27,500 MHz bands for 5G commercial testing.
Meanwhile, MobiFone was licensed to test at the 2,600 MHz bands with no more than 50 stations in Ho Chi Minh City. However, both Viettel and MobiFone have not yet announced its detailed testing plans. Their trial license is valid until June 30, 2021.
Previously, some telecommunication firms in Vietnam tested 5G services, such as making phone calls on 5G networks using made-in-Vietnam equipment. According to experts, this trial licensing aims at mobile users. When testing commercial 5G, telecommunication enterprises will have a more accurate assessment of the technology and market before launching official services and products.
5G smartphones are gradually gaining popularity in Vietnam. Foreign technology companies such as Samsung, Oppo, Vivo have already launched products that support 5G technology. Vietnam's smartphone producer VinSmart has also introduced 5G-supported products but has not yet officially sold any of those. The new Apple's bombshell - iPhone 12, which is expected to go on sale in December also supports 5G technology.
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. The firms claimed to Nokia equipment instead of China's Huawei during the trial.
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