Vietnam’s third largest mobile operator VinaPhone launched 4G services on Phu Quoc Island, becoming the first operator in the country to offer commercial LTE service.

The state-owned operator, which is a subsidiary of VNPT, installed 100 4G base stations on the island and aims to expand its 4G network next year, with a target of 21,000 base stations nationwide, Vietnam Net reported.

The Ministry of Information and Communications last month issued 4G licences on the 1.8GHz band to military-run Viettel, MobiFone, VinaPhone and Gmobile.

Vietnam’s top three operators have all launched 4G pilot programmes.

VinaPhone started 4G tests in Phu Quoc Island and Ho Chi Minh City in January. The country’s second largest mobile operator MobiFone began piloting 4G and MobiTV services in July in the country’s three major cities — Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Market leader Viettel, with a 41 per cent market share, said recently it plans to start commercial 4G service in the first quarter of next year.