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Mobile use going through the roof

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2008 at 11:06 am

Mobile use going through the roof

The Vietnamese telecommunications industry has seen such remarkable expansion over the last few years, that it has been ranked as one of the fastest countries in the world to develop that sector. The country now has 70.4 million telephone subscribers, representing 82 phones per 100 residents. Mobile phone subscribers account for nearly 81 per cent, equivalent to 57 million.

Viet Nam News talks with Nguyen Ba Thuoc, vice general director of the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT), the country’s biggest telecom service provider, about the prospects for the telecom industry in Viet Nam along with VNPT’s plan to sustain its dominant position.


How does Viet Nam’s telecom industry compare to that of other countries in Southeast Asia? In the next 10 years, can the country become a top player in the region?

In the view of VNPT, Viet Nam’s telecom sector has achieved significant developments over the last 20 years. Now we have a solid foundation for further development.

Viet Nam chose to develop digital technologies starting in the 1980s and has attracted considerable investment from foreign partners. As of August this year, the country had over 70 million telephones nationwide, 6 million internet subscribers with about 23 per cent of the population having access to the internet.

In April this year the successful launch of the telecom satellite Vinasat – 1 marked a new era for the country’s telecom sector and laid a more solid foundation for the sector’s future.

So, we can say that Viet Nam’s telecom sector is currently not behind the region in terms of basic telecom services, especially in terms of the speed of development.

The Government has created a development strategy for the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector for 2011-2020, after which the development of the telecom sector will be equal to other countries regionally, while the application of the IT sector will be equal to the average of developed countries following 2011.


Capital investment has not been enough to meet the development demand for telecommunications and IT. Is this the main reason for the slow development of Viet Nam’s ICT sector? To meet the development plan, how much capital will VNPT need per year ?

If you look at the overall picture of Viet Nam’s economy, ICT is one of the fastest growth sectors. According to the International Telecom Union, in recent years Viet Nam was one of the fastest countries in the world in developing its telecom industry.

In order to build a national telecom infrastructure which is modern and sustainable, we need to have an overall development strategy for other supporting sectors such as electricity, water supply. We must avoid the overlapping of investment, especially in the urban areas.

In fact, one of the major obstacles for the development of the Viet Nam telecom sector is the lack of investment capital. In 2008, VNPT will need some VND20 trillion (US$1.19 billion).


Since capital from State budget is not enough to meet the investment demand of VNPT, what is the company doing to seek out other financial resources?

Since early this year, VNPT recognised that it should not depend only on capital from the State Budget, and that the company should seek funding from outside sources such as loans and the stock market, FDI and official development assistance (ODA).

FDI would focus on the development of telecom and internet in urban areas, while ODA on the development in rural and remote areas.

Meanwhile, VNPT also participates in telecom infrastructure projects as a major shareholder, and our company always receives good co-operation from both domestic and foreign partners.


How do you compare telecom tariffs in Viet Nam with the other countries in the region ?

The World Bank reported four years ago that the domestic telecom and international phone call tariffs in Viet Nam were on a similar level with other countries in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). An interministerial report in 2004 also stated that telecom tariffs in Viet Nam were lower compared to some countries worldwide.

After four years, we can say that telecom tariffs in Viet Nam have become much more competitive. VNPT in August cut 88 per cent off the international phone call tariff, making Viet Nam one of the cheapest countries to make an international call from.

Meanwhile, taking the tariff for landlines as an example, a subscriber in Viet Nam pays only $4 for 100 minutes of domestic calling per month, one of the lowest levels in the world. —

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