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Vietnam Delays Launch Of 4G Until 2016

Though many have agreed that 2015 is the “prime time” for Vietnam to launch its 4G services, the country’s deputy minister of information and communications announced last Thursday that licenses for the world's fastest mobile network would not be granted to domestic telecommunication firms until 2016, reports Tuoi Tre.

“The 4G LTE will be the main development trend of the world’s telecom industry in the future,” said Deputy Minister Le Nam Thang, adding that “Vietnam will license network operators to offer 4G services to better use its infrastructure…and create an increasingly competitive and developing telecom environment.”

Whether or not Vietnamese telecommunication companies will jump on the 4G LTE bandwagon is another question.

Last August, a senior executive of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) highlighted high costs and an unsaturated 3G market as potential roadblocks for 4G implementation:

“Developing 4G would be not too costly. However, VNPT has not geared up to implement the 4G technology development project because the demand for 4G is still not strong enough”adding that,“3G technology is still more than enough to satisfy the domestic users’ demand for mobile data.”

A 2014 report from the Ministry of Information and Communication found that only 25% of Vietnamese currently use 3G services, pointing to a lack of saturation in the market:

“The 3G market still has a lot of potential, while the demand for 4G is not big enough. That is why telcos still gather their strength in 3G services,” one expert noted.

Wireless carriers may instead invest in upgrading their 3G networks - VinaPhone announced last year that it has succeeded in increasing their 3G data download speed up to 42 Mbps, six times higher than the previous speed - instead of doling out funds on 4G infrastructure.

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