Although LTE licences were awarded to seven Vietnamese operators in Q3 2010, five of these operators have thus far made no attempt to launch 4G services – in fact, one has not even attempted to obtain the paperwork for its licence from the country’s regulator.
A local newspaper printed a source claiming that “most of the companies have taken no actions towards providing 4G services, though they got the licences a long time ago.” The only two operators to have initiated their rollouts are Viettel, which is owned by the country’s military, and VNPT, which owns the operators Mobifone and Vinaphone.
The capital Hanoi has been the main focus of LTE deployments, with VNPT installing 15 base stations in the city. While Viettel has partnered with Huawei to begin deploying infrastructure in the capital, it has also begun its rollout in Ho Chi Minh City.
The other five operators to be awarded preliminary LTE licences were EVN Telecom, CMC Telecom, GTel, Vietnam Multimedia Corporation (VTC), and FPT Telecom. Licences expire after just one year; since they were distributed in September 2010, all five could reach the end of their validity without being used.
While Viettel recently celebrated the “successful testing” of its LTE equipment, it is unlikely to begin offering services – which will include video streaming and conferencing as well as HD video calls - until at least 2014.