4G, 5G frequencies to be auctioned again

August 10, 2023 | 05:57 am GMT+7

The Authority of Radio Frequency Management (ARFM) under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) is completing procedures for auctioning of the 700 MHz frequency for 4G and 5G.


MIC will ask the government to amend the relevant regulations on frequency auctions. The stages are nearly complete to put the 700 MHz frequency for 4G and 5G development up for auction soon.

The new regulations are expected to help solve difficulties in frequency auctioning, speeding up the development of 4G and commercialization of 5G.

Prior to that, on February 24, 2023, MIC publicized the plan to organize an auction for the right to use the 2300MHz band. Four telecom that carriers submitted dossiers, VNPT, Viettel, MobiFone and Vietnamobile, received MIC’s certificates to be eligible to attend the auction.

Under Decree 88/2021, only firms certified by MIC as meeting the requirements for auctions can submit dossiers to attend the auctions.

On May 15, 25 and June 2, 2023, MIC organized auctions for the 2300MHz frequency band, including three frequency band blocks A1 (2300-2330 MHz), A2 (2330-2360 MHz), A3 (2360-2390 MHz). 

However, no business submitted a dossier or deposit in advance to register to attend the auction. The auctions planned for A1, A2 and A3 blocks failed.

Previously, the frequency licensing was granted by state management agencies to telecom carriers. Later, the carriers had to attend exams to obtain frequencies. In other words, frequencies were granted for free to carriers, which only had to pay frequency fees annually per the regulation of the Ministry of Finance (MOF). 

Nevertheless, since the Law on Radio Frequency took effect and mobile network operators wanted to have good wavebands to provide high-quality services to clients, they have to obtain wavebands through auctions.

According to ARFM, the starting price for frequencies 2300-2400 MHz for three waveband blocks is VND17.394 trillion.

A1 (2300 – 2330 Mhz), A2 (2330 – 2360 Mhz), and A3 (2360 – 2390 Mhz) all have the starting price of VND5.798 trillion and usage duration of 15 years. So, in theory, telecom carriers would have to pay VND386 billion a year in fees, a relatively high figure for all mobile networks. To be able to provide services, they will have to spend more money for infrastructure and business models.

According to MIC, Vietnam has 126 mobile subscribers, and the market is getting saturated. A report shows that 800,000 new subscribers join the market every year. MIC has allowed telcos to try 5G in 40 cities or provinces.