2G, 3G to leave Vietnam in favor of digital transformation

2G, 3G to leave Vietnam in favor of digital transformation (2)

While the digital transformation of societies and economies has led to changes in the ways countries and businesses conduct their plans, the same pattern has reached Vietnam, which moved to promote the uptake of smartphones to advance its digital ambitions.

The country issued a regulation banning the production and import of 2G and 3G handsets effective as of the first of July, Vietnam News reported.

The regulation allows to sell non-complying handsets made and imported prior to July 1.

“Production of phones with 2G technology had decreased significantly with units falling 6-7 million to 12 million, between the end of Q4 2019 to Q3 2020,” Hoang Minh Cuong, Telecoms director at the Ministry of Information and Communications, noted, adding that “tipped the remaining 12 million phones will be ‘wiped out’ by advanced models by Q1 2022.”

Permits for 4G and 5G

The aim behind the new regulation by the ministry is to increase the production and import of 4G and 5G-powered handsets exclusively into the country, while attempting to eventually switch off 2G networks within Q1 of 2022.

To decrease the production of 2G-powered phones, Vietnam intends to bring the number of the technology’s subscribers to below 5 percent by 2022, and eventually halting 2G services by then. This step will look to bring other measures along with it such as opening doors and opportunities for 5G network.

While fifth-generation technology was considered at the forefront of Vietnam’s telecom industry during 2020, telecom providers VNPT and Viettel conducted trials on the service in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang this year, Deputy Director of the provincial Department of Information and Communications Nguyen Thanh Hai said.

In addition, local operators would swiftly move to 5G as the government had prioritized the technology, whilst the nation’s handset manufacturing capabilities offered advantages regarding device costs, a report by Fitch Solutions in May 2020 stated.

Vietnam previously announced to have 5G become the universal standard by 2023-2025, with operators already running pilots in preparations for a broad commercial rollout.

Owning smartphones

On the other hand, the country is targeting to have all citizens own smartphones by 2025 by providing them at a retail price of up to $50. This initiative is encouraged by “Made in Vietnam” nationwide digital transformation program, which was backed by operators and smartphone vendors such as Vingroup.

“The universalization of smartphones was a bold effort to promote national digital transformation, digital economy and e-Government,” Vu Hoang Lien, President of Viet Nam Internet Association, said.

Market research from Vietnam-based Adsota revealed 44.9 percent of the population possessed smartphones in 2020, after some 45 percent of the Vietnamese population, or 43.7 million people, used smartphones as of late 2019.