Vietnam’s largest mobile operator Viettel is aggressively rolling out its 4G infrastructure with plans to have nationwide coverage next month when it launches service.
Tao Duc Thang, deputy general director of Viettel Group (pictured), said the operator had deployed 16,000 4G base stations by early March and plans to have 36,000 4G sites in place sometime in April, when “we will be ready to put our service into operation”.
Viettel reached 70 per cent population coverage in just four months and after six months plans to have 4G service in all provinces and cities, covering 95 per cent of the population, even in remote areas, he said.
Thang noted it took Viettel eight years to build out its 3G infrastructure, which was smaller than its planned 4G network.
While not giving a specific date to officially launch nationwide 4G service, the operator said in mid-March it was working out 4G plans to submit to the Department of Telecoms for approval.
The country’s third largest mobile operator VinaPhone launched 4G services on Phu Quoc Island in November, making it the first in the country to offer commercial LTE service, albeit on a small scale.
But operators are currently only offering subscribers free 4G SIMs, with the Ministry of Information and Communications advising operators to review their 4G subscription packages during the initial launch phase.
MIC issued 4G licences in the 1.8GHz band to four mobile operators last October.
Thang said it is already planning ahead to when 4G usage soars and is asking MIC to consider adding the 2.6GHz band to help it boost its 4G capacity.
Military-run Viettel, with 51 million subscribers in Vietnam and a 37 per cent market share, also has mobile operations in nine other countries and launched 4G services in Cambodia, Laos, East Timor, Burundi, Haiti and Peru.