Network available from April 18, covering 95% of Vietnam's population.
The military-run mobile carrier Viettel officially launched its 4G network on April 18, announcing that it covers 95 per cent of Vietnam’s population with an average download speed of 30-50 Mbps.
According to Mr. Hoang Son, Deputy General Director of Viettel, it is the first network operator in the world to have 4G coverage nationwide.
“UK’s Vodafone (the world’s second-largest) has offered 4G since 2013 but only covers 88 per cent of the UK’s population,” he said. “Meanwhile, Viettel’s 4G will cover 95 per cent of the population within six months, with 36,000 stations,” he said.
The 4G broadcast stations use 4T4R antenna technology to extend coverage 1.4 times, double compared to 2T2R technology. Therefore, Viettel commits to an average download speed in its 4G network of 30-50 Mbps, or 7-10 times higher than the 3G network.
It also committed that its 4G will be 40-60 per cent cheaper than 3G. More importantly, it will offer 4G mobile phones at a price of VND1.3 million ($57).
At the end of last year, Viettel provided free 4G SIM cards to its users ahead of the launch of its 4G network.
Viettel has said its infrastructure is in place for the launch of 4G services, which will allow users to watch HD videos, stream videos, and download and upload quickly. The 4G service will be compatible with all types of mobile phones in the market.
“We invested in equipment and began installing infrastructure to widen the 4G coverage area as soon as we received the license,” Mr. Son said. “Viettel expects a mobile internet boom in Vietnam and for 4G to become hugely popular.”
Viettel is not the first operator in Vietnam to provide commercial 4G services. Vietnam National Post and Telecommunications (VNPT) launched the first 4G network last November, but it only covers Phu Quoc Island in the Mekong Delta’s Kien Giang province.
Viettel is estimated to have earned VND226.5 trillion ($10.15 billion) in revenue in 2016, equal to 100 per cent of its annual plan, while pre-tax profit was VND43.2 trillion ($1.93 billion), or 101 per cent of its annual plan.
It also contributed VND40.4 trillion ($1.8 billion) to the State budget. Compared with 2015, 2016 revenue increased VND3.8 trillion ($170 million) while profit fell VND2.6 trillion ($116 million). Return on equity was 34.1 per cent, equal to 100.4 per cent of the annual plan.
The military-run company had 7.4 million new subscribers as at the end of 2016, bringing its total to 90 million, including 62.3 million domestic subscribers and 27.7 million overseas subscribers.
The group’s nine international markets, in which it has operated for over three years, have earned profits. Peru and Burundi recorded profits after two years of operations, while Cameroon and Tanzania are yet to record profits after one and two years.