VietNamNet Bridge – Being a developing country, Vietnam has the 3G telecom infrastructure conditions equal to that of developed countries in the world.


John Navy was a British tourist to Vietnam. When he arrived in Hanoi, as advised by the tour guide, he bought a pre-paid simcard for his smart phone to communicate during the time he stayed in the country.

Though he was told before that the telecommunication services in Vietnam are very cheap, he really got surprised when he had to pay less than three dollars only to buy a VinaPhone simcard with the account value of over five dollars.

He was also told that 3G wave is ready everywhere, while the services are very cheap. Especially, the tour guide assured that even if he uses the simcards without inhibition, he would not use up all the money during his stay in Vietnam.

John and his friends could not imagine that in such a developing country like Vietnam would they be able to use 3G services anytime, anywhere and at such low prices. He could surf on Internet, chatted and made calls via Skype and Viber without any interruption, no matter where he was, in Hanoi or in Ninh Binh durig the excursion to the Bich Dong cavern.

As the tour guide said, John had not used up the money in the simcard account until the last day in Vietnam. “The landscapes in Vietnam are wonderful, while the 3G services are incredible,” he said to the tour guide when he left.

Not only John and the British tourists felt surprised about the development of the telecommunication infrastructure development in Vietnam. Other foreigners got surprised that they could check mail, surf on Internet, accessed to Facebook and made calls everywhere at such low fees, just one dollar for one month use. Especially, the communication was not interrupted even when they went to remote areas.

Over the last two years, the development of 3G services has slowed down in many countries due to the global economic crisis. Meanwhile, the investments in 3G networks in Vietnam still have been increasing significantly.

By the end of 2012, the number of 3G subscribers in Vietnam had reached 16 million. The mobile network operator that provides the service has six million subscribers.

In 2012, despite the economic crisis, the turnover from 3G services still increased significantly. VinaPhone, one of the three biggest mobile network operators in Vietnam, has reported the high 60 percent growth rate in the year.

It is VinaPhone, which has pioneered in upgrading 3G network into 3.5G with the maximum download speed of 21.6 Mbps and upload 5.76 Mbps. MobiPhone and Viettel are also following similar steps.

However, mobile network operators have been advised to reduce the investments in 3G technology and pay more attention to increase their turnover. While they have made heavy investments in the new technology, the number of 3G subscribers, though having been increasing rapidly, is still modest, about 10 subscribers for every 100 people.

Doan Quang Hoan, a senior official of the Ministry of Information and Communication said at Mobile Vietnam 2012 that the ARPU in Vietnam is just five dollars per subscriber, which is much lower than that in Japan (58 dollars), South Korean (46 dollars).

“The growth rate of the turnover is slower than the growth rate of the number of subscribers,” Hoan said.