5G: an opportunity to develop the ICT industry

April 20, 2021 | 11:14 am GMT+7

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said that 5G is not just an opportunity to improve connection services and change Vietnam's telecommunications rankings, but also an opportunity to develop the country's ICT industry.


The speech was made by Minister Hung at the conference on Vietnam’s reform and innovation in November 2018:

In 1990, the world witnessed the rise of 2G technology. Only three years later, in 1993, Vietnam launched the 2G mobile phone network. In 2000, 3G technology appeared in the world, but it was only in 2010, 10 years later, that all of the three largest carriers in Vietnam opened their 3G mobile phone networks. And when 4G came out, the story was almost the same. Until 2018, eight years after the world saw the appearance of 4G technology, we did not grant new frequencies to make 4G - the 4G network that carriers opened in 2017 due to the accumulation of 3G frequency.
And what was the result? Thanks to the early adoption of 2G technology and the promotion of competition, Vietnam's mobile networks used to be in the top 50 in the world. But when it switched to 3G and 4G technology, because of lagging behind in terms of technology and the lack of new competitive factors, Vietnam's telecommunications ranked 108th. For example, in terms of broadband mobile subscribers, in 2017 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ranked Vietnam 115th out of 193 countries and territories, which meant that Vietnam was below the world average.
The 5G technology is coming, and this is an opportunity for Vietnam to change our rankings. To change rankings, we must go first. Not being first on a national scale, we can be first in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Ministry of Information and Communications advocates providing 5G frequencies for testing from 2019, and by 2020, when the world starts to deploy 5G, Vietnam will also be one of the the first countries to deploy 5G.
The 2G and 3G network equipment were wholly imported. When deploying 4G, we had Made-in-Vietnam 4G devices for the first time, but it was also eight years after 4G appeared. For 5G, we will have devices from the first day of implementation officially in 2020. This will be the biggest change, the most significant change, and also the biggest quality transformation in the local electronic and telecommunication industry.
The Ministry of Information and Communications encourages and creates all conditions for Vietnamese technology enterprises, both public and private, both large and small, to research and manufacture telecommunications equipment, including network and terminal equipment, so for the first time in the history of the country, Vietnam's telecommunication network is built by Vietnamese equipment. Vietnam must also become the 5th country in the world to export Made in Vietnam telecommunications equipment, including all network and terminal equipment.
2G technology is pure telephone technology. 3G technology is half phone, half data. 4G technology is purely data, but for person to person. 5G technology is data technology, but is the first technology designed for connecting things, with many new features, such as low latency and low power consumption. 5G technology will create a revolution in connectivity.
2G/3G/4G connects 7 billion people, while 5G will connect trillions of devices, conveying the entire physical world into the virtual world. With 5G, communications infrastructure becomes the infrastructure of the economy for the first time. And it fundamentally changes human life. This is the mission of 5G, and that mission is placed on the role of Vietnam's ICT industry, on the shoulders of the people sitting here today.
Connecting things will require a completely different investment from a cellphone network for connecting only people. Mobile carriers must be aware of their responsibility to the country, to the nation. The 5G network is the infrastructure for connecting things - the most important infrastructure of the Industrial Revolution 4.0. If Vietnam wants to be at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, the 5G network must be first. The network must come first; the connecting infrastructure must be there first. Investment must come before doing business. This must be the business philosophy of all mobile carriers. Vietnam's 5G network for connecting things must be among the best in the world. The number of BTS stations for 5G will have to be much larger than previous technologies. Therefore, sharing infrastructure, sharing telecommunications infrastructure with electricity, water, and transport infrastructure is very important to reduce social costs.
5G is not only an opportunity for connectivity services, an opportunity to change Vietnam's telecommunications rankings, but also an opportunity to develop the country's ICT industry. With huge demand for network equipment, and especially terminal equipment, and the need for safety, network security as well as the need of the entire population for applications, an infinite market for Vietnamese tech-firms will be created. Let's consider Vietnam as the cradle to develop technology and products and from here conquer the world. This opportunity falls on our generation. And we must take this as our historical responsibility towards the people.
Vietnam's telecommunications market also needs new competitive factors to promote development, to have new breakthroughs in broadband subscriber development, to put Vietnam in the Top 30-50 in the world: in terms of service structure, voice and text messaging, to account for less than 30% of total revenue; to increase per capita data consumption; in terms of digital transformation, carriers will be the first to do a thorough digital transformation and create digital transformation platform for other businesses; in terms of Industrial Revolution 4.0, carriers will be the first and effective applicators of AI, Big Data, and IoT technologies; in terms of innovation, carriers will develop X-Techs, such as FinTech, AgriTech, and EdTech, to create major changes in industries.
Regarding telecommunications policies, ICT policies, and policies for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, we must be at the forefront to attract the people, technology and products of the world, and thus, Vietnam will become the center of the world.
The Government has assigned the Ministry of Information and Communications to cooperate with the World Economic Forum on making policy for the new technologies of the Industrial Revolution 4.0, as well as new business models. At this forum, I urge experts, scholars, businesses, consultants, associations, and the people to cooperate with the Ministry of Information and Communications to formulate policies in a timely manner, suitable for development, to help Vietnam to be at the forefront of new technology, the first of which is 5G technology that we are discussing today.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung