As it preps for 5G launches, Vietnam eyes the 6G era

  • Vietnam grants 5G licences to Viettel and VNPT, paving the way for nationwide commercialisation in 2024
  • But 5G subscribers aren’t expected to surpass 4G until 2029, emphasising the need to improve 4G services
  • By that time, Vietnam expects to have entered the 6G era

Vietnam’s telecom sector is set for a major transformation during the rest of this  decade as the country embraces cutting-edge digital technologies and prepares for the introduction of 5G services while, at the same time, preparing for the 6G era. 

With the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) granting licences to industry leaders Viettel and VNPT in April, Vietnam is now poised for the introduction of 5G services this year. 

However, the country’s ambitions extend far beyond 5G, with plans already in motion to establish Vietnam as a frontrunner in the development of 6G technology. The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has established a 6G Steering Committee and aims to have 6G networks up and running in the country by 2028 or 2030 at the latest. 

“Vietnam is committed to global 6G standards,” said Pham Duc Long, deputy minister of information and communications. “The MIC, in collaboration with businesses, is actively engaged in research and driving the advancement of this technology. The government will invest in laboratories to support businesses in their research and production of 6G equipment.”

Industry giants Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone have already initiated research into various aspects of 6G technology, with Viettel focusing on the manufacture of 6G equipment and actively participating in 6G patent activities. VNPT, on the other hand, is concentrating on researching the 6G ecosystem.

“Opportunities exist for all nations, but success will be attained by those who seize them,” stated Deputy Minister Long. “By laying the foundation today, we aim for success in the next decade. Without taking action now, we risk having nothing in 10 years’ time. Researching and producing 6G equipment will pave the way for a new industry in our country.”

However, it will take some time before 5G dominates the country’s mobile market, according to MIC minister Nguyen Manh Hung, who believes it will be at least 2029 before the number of 5G users in the country exceeds the 4G users base, according to VietnamNet. Hung urged the country’s operators to continue investing in their 4G networks and services while building out their 5G capabilities. 

In the meantime, all such developments are enhancing the country’s digital prospects. Deputy minister of information and communications Phan Tâm, in an official dispatch to mark World Telecommunications Day on 17 May, emphasised the theme of “digital creativity for sustainable development” that will be applied to the ongoing development of the country’s digital ecosystem and when addressing challenges such as climate change, bridging the digital divide and achieving national sustainable development goals as a set out by the United Nations.  

Minister of information and communications Nguyen Manh Hung highlighted the significant transitions anticipated in 2024, including the shift from IT applications to digital technology, greater automation and the use of artificial intelligence, and the development and manufacturing of ‘Make in Vietnam’ products. 

The award of 5G licences and greater focus on the development of the country’s digital infrastructure comes as new regulations open the door for foreign investment and make Vietnam an attractive location for the development of new datacentre facilities

- Joana Bagano, Contributing Editor, TelecomTV

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