The Vietnamese military-run telecom group Viettel plans to roll out 5G technology in Laos by year-end. This is Vietnam’s third overseas launch of the service.
The country aims to expand this list to four Southeast Asian nations.
Viettel, which is the Vietnam’s largest mobile carrier, has been testing 5G in Myanmar and Cambodia through local arms since summer, and in its domestic market since last month, seeking to offer affordable service.
According to news reports, the Viettel group member, Unitel will become the first operator to offer the 5G technology in Laos. Unitel boasts 6,000 3G and 4G base stations, covering 95% of the country. It commands more than half the local market with about 3 million subscribers.
In February this year, Unitel helped introduce SIMs to Laos, which led the country to rank 7th out of 10 ASEAN member states in terms of advanced telecommunications services.
Founded in October 2009, the Viettel subsidiary operates across all 17 provinces and cities in Laos and has led the market for eight consecutive years. It is also the Lao government’s partner in implementing the country’s key e-government systems.
5G will change many vertical industries including the transportation, healthcare, and agricultural sectors.
It will develop a new industry that produces billions of devices and will also activate innovation in almost every industry, creating unlimited connectivity for all.
Results from the implementation of the first official connection on Viettel’s 5G network (set up earlier this year) showed that the actual data transfer rate reached 1.5-1.7 gigabytes per second (Gb/s).
This far exceeded the theoretical speed limit of the 4G LTE network, and equivalent to the speed of the commercial cable network at present.
Vietnam has built a relatively synchronous telecommunication infrastructure with mobile coverage currently reaching 99.7% of the population. Out of which, 3G and 4G coverage areas at a low-cost reach 98%, OpenGov reported earlier.
5G networks have been granted licenses to experiment and are expected to be commercially deployed in the market by 2020.
Last month, Viettel broadcast its first end-to-end 5G network in HCM City, offering the public a chance to experience 5G services for the first time.
In a press release, the organisation said it had set up 5G base stations in Ward 12 in the city’s District 10.
The official broadcast of 5G in HCM City is an important milestone in Viettel’s strategy to make Vietnam one of the first countries in the world to commercialise 5G services.
Additionally, around 1,000 Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) broadcasting stations have been activated, covering the whole city.
NB-IoT technology feature is capable of disconnecting a device when it is inactive. Thus, the contact time of the terminal is extended to five years without needing to change the battery.
Viettel is also accelerating the process of developing a platform using NB-IoT technology-related services for its customers. It will perform services like smart parking, air quality monitoring, location tracking, and metering devices.
5G, unlike 4G, will first prioritise the areas with high usage or the locations in need of replacing the cable network.