Vietnam telecoms set to pilot commercial 5G network
Vietnam's leading telecom companies are now licensed to run commercial 5G tests in the country's two biggest cities. The military-owned Viettel, Vietnam's leading, state-run communications company, is leading the charge in Hanoi with 140 base transceiver stations.
Meanwhile, state-owned MobiFone is commercially piloting the tech in Ho Chi Min City, with 50 stations. The telecom has already announced it is fully prepared to implement a 5G mobile network, stating that 5G has potential for business, transport, healthcare, entertainment and education sectors.
To date, MobiFone has successfully trialled 5G in four Vietnamese cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Da Nang and Hai Phong. According to a MobiFone spokesman, the company has also recorded download speeds of 2Gbps.
It is hoped that Vietnam’s commercial pilot tests will provide essential data on their tech and market size. The information will then be used to implement the commercial 5G operation. The pilot scheme will also enable Viettel and MobiFone to evaluate their privacy regulations and cybersecurity protocols before the service goes mainstream.
In terms of security, Viettel made world news in August 2019 following its official condemnation of Huawei in the race towards 5G. Vietnam is the first Asian country to build such a network without equipment or assistance from the Chinese tech giant.
Instead, Viettel is using hardware supplied by Ericsson and Nokia, along with 5G chipsets from Qualcomm Inc. The carrier is also developing its own equipment. Director-General of Viettel, , said at the time. “We are not going to work with Huawei right now. It’s a bit sensitive. There were reports that it’s not safe to use Huawei. So Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones. So, we choose Nokia and Ericsson from Europe.”
Journey to 5G
Vietnam conducted their first 5G call in January via tech created by Viettel. The company has been installing network hardware since 2019, with predictions suggesting the 5G subscription uptake will surpass 6.3m by 2025. Reports suggest the network will have a delivery speed that is 100 times faster than its current 4G system. Viettel has already announced plans for 5G capability to support remote medical procedures and autonomous driving.
However, both Mobifone and Viettel will have to apply for permission from the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications to increase the size of the test scheme once their current licenses expire in June of 2021. The telecoms will also be expected to have compliancy on the management of telecom quality and security.
Though it will be some months before 5G is fully commercialised in Vietnam, companies are already enthusiastic. Research and manufacturer joint stock company start-up, , a subsidiary of the Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup JSC, has already secured a contract to export up to two million 5G mobiles to the USA.
VinSmart’s vice chairwoman , said, “Once the 5G network reaches a wide coverage in Vietnam, we would already have the capacity to well serve the local market. 5G is an opportunity for a new player like VinSmart to be on par with the world’s manufacturers.”
Major General Le Dang Dung said successful results from the 5G connection tests will result in a large-scale 5G roll-out for both Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi before the official launch at the end of 2020.
He added that Vietnam's fast adoption of 5G might also make it one of the first countries in the world to implement the tech for commercial use.
Verizon’s 5G adoption rises as Q2 success hits record high
Verizon has reported record success in the second quarter of 2021 caused by an increase in the adoption of its 5G phone service, customer and sequential wireless service revenue growth, and network reliability. The company revised its revenue and adjusted EPS guidance upward for the full year as a result.
Hans Vestberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon, said: “We are executing on our multipurpose network strategy and producing positive results in each of our five growth vectors, recording strong second-quarter results. With more connections on our network than anyone else, our already excellent network performance improved in the quarter and was recognized by RootMetrics as the best overall network performance for the 16th time in a row. We are also expanding our 5G Ultra-Wideband and 5G Home markets”.
He added that that the company “is excited about its momentum leading into the second half of the year”, and that it is “on track” to close the Tracfone and Verizon Media transactions.
Verizon’s Q2 2021 highlights
- US$1.40 in earnings per share (EPS); adjusted EPS*, excluding special items, of US$1.37.
- Operating revenue of US$33.8bn, a result of strong sequential wireless revenue growth.
- Net income of US$5.9bn and adjusted EBITDA* of US$12.2bn.
- Total wireless service revenue of US$16.9bn, a 5.9% increase year over year, and a 4.0 percent increase from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 0.94 percent, and retail postpaid phone churn of 0.72 percent.
- 528,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 275,000 phone net additions, resulting in 121.3mn total retail connections.
- Total revenue of US$23.5 bn, an increase of 11.2% year over year, and an increase of 6.7% from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 0.83%, and retail postpaid phone churn of 0.65 percent, a record-low retail postpaid phone churn outside of second-quarter 2020 and third-quarter 2020, which were heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 350,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 197,000 phone net additions, driving 5G-phone adoption to approximately 20% of Consumer wireless phone customers and step-ups to premium unlimited plans.
- 92,000 Consumer Fios Internet net additions. The company's trailing 12-month total Fios Internet net addition performance is the highest since 2015.
- Total revenue of US$7.8bn, an increase of 3.7% year over year, and relatively flat from second-quarter 2019.
- Total retail postpaid churn of 1.30%, and retail postpaid phone churn of 1.07%.
- 178,000 retail postpaid net additions, including 78,000 phone net additions.
“Second quarter results were exceptional, both financially and operationally,” said Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis. “Our strong first-half performance and the momentum in our business gives us the confidence to raise our total wireless service revenue growth guidance to between 3.5% and 4%, an update from prior guidance for 2021 total wireless service revenue growth of at least 3%. We are also raising our adjusted EPS guidance* to the range of US$5.25 to US$5.35, an update from prior guidance for 2021 adjusted EPS* of US$5.00 to US$5.15”.
Also in Q2, Verizon came to an agreement with Apollo funds to sell Verizon Media, the expected close date being in the second half of 2021. Following this, the Verizon Media business classified certain assets as “Held for Sale”, which the company no longer depreciated or paid off. According to Verizon, this led to a partial quarter benefit of three cents per share in Q2, which will continue as a benefit until the deal is closed.