Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) outlined plans to hold a spectrum auction this quarter to enable operators to boost LTE capacity and formally launch 5G services next year, Vietnam News Service reported.

MIC minister Nguyen Manh Hung said the country is determined to keep up with other operators around the world by commercialising 5G, the news agency wrote. The minister previously called for the regulator to allocate spectrum in the 2.6GHz band but didn’t mention any additional bands.

The ministry also set the target for all citizens to use smartphones by 2023. GSMA Intelligence data showed smartphone penetration in Vietnam was 66 per cent at end-September.

Major operators Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone began testing commercial 5G services in 2019 in parts of the country’s two largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, using trial licences.

Last month, Viettel, working with Ericsson and Qualcomm, recorded a peak transmission speed of 4.7Gb/s using 800MHz of mmWave spectrum in a 5G trial.

In May 2020, Fitch Solutions predicted the operators would quickly move to 5G because the government had prioritised the technology and the nation has mature handset manufacturing capabilities.