2 Vietnamese cellphone carriers are going 4G

HANOI - Vietnamese telecom giants Viettel and Vinaphone will start testing 4G services this fall.

Viettel, which is run by Vietnam's military, will begin its pilot programme in select areas in October, establishing 12,000 4G base stations by the end of the year. The company will offer the service nationwide as soon as 2016. The country's largest carrier won government approval for the trial in 2010 and will need another approval to expand it nationally.

Vinaphone, the third-largest provider, will begin its 4G test service in November at the latest. The Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group subsidiary plans to capture customers by promoting that they will not need new SIM cards to switch to its 4G plans.

Neither company has established fee schedules, though many estimate basic charges will be roughly in line with their 3G services.

About 29 million Vietnamese, or around one-third of the population, use 3G phones. If these customers switch to 4G, which would let them watch videos and take advantage of e-commerce, they likely would provide a solid source of profit for the two companies.

Read the full story here