Shah Zeb, senior director of Business Development at Qualcomm Technologies, last week flew from the US to Vietnam to attend the Vietnam International Digital Week from October 11-14 in Hanoi, demonstrating Qualcomm’s interest in the local tech market amid the country’s acceleration to commercialise 5G.

“Vietnam has three big goals: successfully deploying the 5G network; designing products for domestic and international markets; and developing digital skills and capacity,” he said.

5G is a critical driver in Vietnam’s digital transformation journey. The country is expected to launch 5G commercialisation next year. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Qualcomm, Ericsson, Lenovo, Keysight Technologies, and Huawei are all expanding to reap the benefits.

Fostering national digital transformation

Vietnam and Qualcomm have agreed to intensify cooperation in developing and commercialising products, especially 5G devices, to meet local and international needs. Qualcomm is working with Vietnamese network operators such as Viettel, VNPT, Mobifone, BKAV, and Vinfast in 5G activities.

Ericsson is working with the Vietnamese government and operators to accelerate the 5G rollout. The company has deployed on Viettel’s network, achieving download speeds of 4.7Gb/s – a record. Currently, mmWave is being deployed in many regions in Vietnam, showing promising results such as 1Gb/s, which signals strong progress.

Recent months have seen Hanoi visited by leaders of global tech giants. In mid-September, Phil Davis, managing director for Asia-Pacific and Japan at AWS, landed in Vietnam to meet customers and partners. He said he found a strong acceleration in Vietnam’s digital transformation across sectors compared to his previous visits.

AWS has increased investment in infrastructure in Vietnam in recent months, including regional and local zones, and is planning to do more work on infrastructure and training in the future

ICT cooperation and interest have also intensified at the country level as meetings with Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

At the Vietnam-Japan Digital Forum held on October 12, Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and its Japanese counterparts discussed digital transformation and 5G rollout in the two countries. Representatives from Japanese ICT firms like Hitachi, Fujitsu, and NTT Data also shared their plans to work with partners in Vietnam. In September, the MIC also held similar events in South Korea and the United States.

Vietnam’s digital transformation has been accelerating since 2020 when the prime minister approved the National Digital Transformation Programme towards 2025, aiming to be in the top 50 countries in e-government development.

In recent years, several actions have been taken by the government, ministries, agencies, and the business community to contribute. As of mid-2022, breakthroughs were recorded in the digital economy, with its added value making up about 10.5 per cent of Vietnam’s GDP, according to the MIC.

Nearly all enterprises use e-invoices, e-commerce revenue reached 11.27 per cent of total retail sales, and 66 per cent of adults have payment accounts. Over 70 per cent own smartphones, and 71.75 per cent of all households use broadband cable internet.

Despite these achievements, shortcomings remain. “Vietnam has yet to possess adequate human resources to achieve its goals,” said Zeb of Qualcomm. “For the country to be ready for 5G, there should be 5G spectrum options such as mid-band and mmWave in place, combining them in strategic locations, as well as choosing suitable options for population density and traffic. The underlying infrastructure is critically important.”

Bui Kim Thuy, senior representative of the US-ASEAN Business Council in Vietnam, said that the digital economy is a dynamic market, and Vietnam now has a bustling digital economy development, in addition to a golden aged population.

“The internet in Vietnam and ASEAN has the fastest development rate. US investment in ASEAN reached nearly $340 billion, much more than in China, Japan, South Korea, and India and is expected to increase in the future. To this end, Vietnam’s policies should be stable and predictable,” she noted.

Davis of AWS added that there was also a skill shortfall in many areas, including Vietnam. “I was in India three weeks ago, and one of the top concerns of every CEO I met was the right skills. They have a lot of the old skills and not enough of the new.”

To further accelerate digital transformation, the country is focusing on completing the legal framework and policies about digital to develop a legal framework, digital infrastructure, digital platforms, and human resources while taking measures to improve its performance and rankings in e-government, global innovation, and global competitiveness in line with international standards.

The country will increase the rate of dealing with online administrative procedures and improving the quality of online public services while creating solutions to develop and better the quality of digital human resources associated with innovation and science and technology.

Encouraging enterprises to accelerate the digitalisation of production and business activities and establishing effective digital service delivery channels, the country will also enhance investment in digital infrastructure, research and development, and international cooperation in digital transformation.

Source: VIR