Vietnam will commercialise 5G network in October using entirely domestically produced equipment, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).
Researches on 5G chip production at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology. Viet Nam has officially mastered 5G network technology. — Photo courtesy of Viettel Group
On January 17, the first video call using a 5G connection on a gNodeB transceiver, researched and produced by Viettel, was successfully implemented, meaning Viet Nam has officially mastered 5G network technology.
Viet Nam is one of the few countries that can produce 5G equipment. The MIC will facilitate directing Vietnamese businesses to invest in research and production of 5G equipment towards commercialising 5G products this year.
Viet Nam is building a roadmap to abolish the 2G mobile phone technology from 2022 and is implementing bidding and licensing of the 2.6 GHz mobile band to improve network quality and the speed of mobile services.
The ministry said telecom infrastructure has seen an important change in frequency infrastructure. Implementing 5G in Viet Nam has advantages as Vietnamese electronics and telecommunications businesses have produced lots of equipment and infrastructure, whereas before foreign manufacturers were relied upon.
This would be an important step for socio-economic development and ensuring national defence, it added.
According to the ministry’s Department of Information and Technology, the development of the 5G network has been one of the key orientations to upgrade digital infrastructure, serving national digital transformation. To implement this orientation, one of the important solutions is Viet Nam needs to research and master the design and manufacture of chips and 5G network equipment.
Deputy Minister Phan Tam said the Government has launched the 'Make in Viet Nam' strategy to help the country escape the middle-income trap. The country aims to produce chipsets for 5G network and internet of things (IoT) equipment. The Government has offered preferential policies for the production as it is a high-tech area. Many Vietnamese firms such as Viettel, FPT and Vingroup have been studying to produce such equipment.
A representative from Viettel said it used up to 300 out of more than 1,000 IT engineers for research programmes into 5G production. The group has approved an estimated VND500 billion (US$21.6 million) for the development of Microcell 5G and investing VND200 billion into a 5G lab. Viettel has worked with partners in the US, South Korea and India to produce chipset, software and hardware for 5G.
Another representative from VinSmart said the company had focused on research and production of 5G and IoT equipment. In addition, VinSmart built a lab for research and development of 5G mobile phones and telecom equipment. Vinsmart will start 5G telecommunications equipment testing in August.
A representative of FPT said chip production has been extremely difficult, requiring cautious steps and having strategies in the next 10 years.
Viet Nam's microchip industry is not new and has been in place since the 1990s, but due to a lack of ecosystem, firms have few local buyers for their chips, he added.
The number of Vietnamese companies making chips is modest and most foreign companies open factories in Viet Nam to produce chips. The State needs to provide supports to local firms such as corporate tax exemptions and personal income tax at high-tech parks, he added.
HUTECH and VHT agree deal to produce 5G chips
Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH) and Viettel High Technology Industries Corporation (VHT) on Thursday signed an agreement to research and produce 5G chips.
Under the agreement, the two sides will work together on the research and development of 5G integrated microchips, providing training on young human resource, deploying new technologies as well as sharing experiences.
Through the co-operation, VHT expects to accelerate research on science and technology at universities by bringing experiments to business. The two sides agreed to resolve issues such as training, scientific research and technology transfer as well as other sectors based on bilateral, equal and mutual benefits.
A contract was also signed under the agreement. Accordingly, HUTECH will provide consulting services, receiver design and transmitter for 5G chips for VHT.
Nguyen Vu Ha, VHT’s general director, said the design and production of 5G chips under the Viettel brand would be an important step in its journey to master all technologies related to 5G. In addition, Viettel is also determined to research, design and manufacture 'Make in Viet Nam' chips.
“In addition to co-operation with international companies to transfer technology, Viettel also co-operates with experts in the field of chip production at home and abroad, knowledgeable scientists at universities.
"Co-operating with universities is also a way for Viettel to create a realistic environment, put scientific research into practice, speeding up the digital transformation process in Viet Nam,” he said. — VNS