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Vietnam's Internet Much Cheaper but Slower Than Asian Peers', Report Shows

A new report from Broadbandchoices, a UK-based service provider for broadband, television, and mobile companies ranked internet accessibility for 169 countries, with Vietnam ranked 56th. One of the factors contributing to this ranking is the affordability of mobile data and broadband in Vietnam.

Broadbandchoices included many factors in its global ranking of internet accessibility: internet speeds, broadband access, cost per month, affordability, the cost for 1GB data, mobile internet coverage, and the number of open WiFi hotspots. After examining these factors, every country was given a total score out of 100. Vietnam received 81.57 points, which ranked 56th, higher than countries such as South Korea (66th), Malaysia (76th), the Philippines (83rd), and China (114th).

Denmark, Liechtenstein and the United States topped the ranking.

Among the internet accessibility factors, affordability played an essential role in Vietnam’s ranking. Due to affordable mobile data plans, Vietnam placed 9th in the category of least expensive countries for 1GB of mobile data. According to VnExpress, Vietnam’s average monthly cost of broadband internet is only US$12.4, while regional countries such as Thailand (US$25.9), Indonesia (US$32.5), Malaysia (US$34.9), and the Philippines (US$51.1) are much more expensive.

However, Vietnam only has an average data speed of 9.87 Mbps, compared to other countries such as Thailand (14.09), South Korea (13.48) and Japan (32.27).

Vietnam’s internet speed is much slower than other Asian countries. Based on the Speedtest Global Index, in January 2021, Vietnam ranked 59th in fixed broadband and 62nd in global mobile speed. At the same time, Asian countries such as Singapore (1st in fixed broadband) and South Korea (2nd in mobile speed) have significantly higher ranks.

In January 2021, VnExpress reported that two of Vietnam’s undersea internet cables would take another month to repair, which resulted in slow internet speeds throughout the Lunar New Year holiday. The unstable internet connection in recent years derives from the technical difficulties of Vietnam’s undersea cables. Even though Vietnam’s internet accessibility has increased, internet speed is still an issue for millions of users.

[Photo: Saigoneers working on their laptops at a coffeeshop in the city]