Vietnam said on Friday it had approved four telecoms to offer the country’s third generation (3G) mobile phone services.
Army telecoms operator Viettel, state owned Vinaphone, soon-to-be-privatised MobiFone, and a venture between Hanoi Telecom and EVN Telecom part of Electricity of Vietnam qualified for licensing, said the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).
Over the next three months the operators should make sure they are able to fulfil requirements regarding network infrastructure and equipment so they are ready for formal licensing, the MIC said in a press release.
After that, they must start the service within nine months, state-run Vietnam News quoted MIC Deputy Minister Le Nam Thang as saying. The four were selected from six applicants.
According to Vietnam News, the communist country now has more than 70 million mobile subscribers. Viettel and MobiFone service 26 million each while Vinaphone has 20 million.
About two thirds of Vietnam’s 86 million people are under 35 and experts have said there is high demand for high speed multimedia data and other extra services among the nation’s youth.
“3G” refers to third generation mobile networks which offer high-speed access to the Internet, email and video.
The Vietnam telecommunications industry has enjoyed 30 per cent annual growth in recent years and expects turnover of seven billion dollars in 2010, the paper said.