The Asia-American Gateway (AAG) submarine cable was cut again on April 23 morning. The breakdown is located in SH1 segment, about 300km offshore Vung Tau, which is a turn from the international line via Hong Kong (China) to Ho Chi Minh City. The incident will affect internet bandwidth from Vietnam to international destinations. Viettel, FPT and VNPT have taken some measures to restrict effects on Internet users in Vietnam. Earlier in 2015, the AAG submarine cable was cut on January 5 and it took two weeks to resolve the issue.
Vietnam has five mobile network operators including Viettel, VinaPhone, MobiFone, Vietnamobile and GMobile. The three former ones hold over 90 percent of the market share. After MobiFone’s separation from VNPT, the race in the mobile market is no longer between Viettel and VNPT. It is among Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone–a subsidiary of VNPT.
Smartphones launched by local leading telcos VNPT and Viettel, have struggled to woo customers since their launch. Most recently, VNPT Technology, under state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), rolled out two Made in Vietnam smartphone models, the Vivas Lotus S2 and S2 Eco, priced at just VND1.59 million ($75) and VND2.19 million ($104). Earlier, in late August 2013 the company launched the first Vivas Lotus 1 smartphone model for VND3.9 million ($185).
Specifically, VNPT earned revenue of about VND101,055 billion ($4.81 billion), profit of VND6,310 billion (over $300 million), up 12% compared with 2013. By the end of 2014, VNPT had total subscribers of 30.5 million, including 26 million mobile subscribers. The number of new mobile subscribers of VinaPhone in 2014 reached 8.8 million and the number of broadband internet and IPTV subscribers were over three million and about one million, respectively.
A senior executive of the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) said: “Developing 4G would be not too costly. However, VNPT has not geared up to implement the 4G technology development project because the demand for 4G is still not strong enough.” Investment capital needs to be spent reasonably to optimize profits, not to “show off” one’s power, he said. He said that “3G technology is still more than enough to satisfy the domestic users’ demand for mobile data”.
“Our products always receive compliments from foreign clients, from Australia to North America. However, they are not welcomed in the home market,” said Nguyen Trung Kien, director of the technology product development management board, which belongs to VNPT Technology at a workshop held on December 4 in HCM City. VNPT Technology is known for its hardware products bearing Vietnamese brands, such as SmartBox, Modem ADSL and Vivas Lotus, a smartphone model.
VNPT Technology, a member company of the Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group, released its second made-in-Viet Nam smartphone VIVAS Lotus S2 for low-income customers on November 25 in Ha Noi. The smartphone offers new applications, developed by VNPT Technology on the VNPT Appstore, such as TVOD for watching TV online and VIVAS Cloud for unlimited online storage. VIVAS Lotus S2 is available in five colours, namely turquoise, pink and yellow, besides black and white.
At the October meeting of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Tran Manh Hung, VNPT’s general director, said the company’s board members have submitted the plan to set up the three corporations and was waiting for the ministry to assess the proposal and pass it on to the prime minister. The three entities would operate in separate fields, specifically infrastructure (VNPT – NET), business (VNPT – VinaPhone) and value-added services (VNPT – Media). They would operate independently and their performance would be separately evaluated.
The aims of the plan are to continue VNPT’s development, focus on production and trading of telecom, information technology and multi-media products and services, improve the competitive ability and efficiency in production and business, and maintain a key role in the telecom industry of Viet Nam. Bui Quoc Viet, director of VNPT Information and Public Relation Centre, spoke about these issues.
He will replace Mai Van Binh who was appointed as the company’s chairman on June 26 by the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT). Tra, born in 1961, graduated from the Hanoi University of Science and Technology. He has been working for the second largest Vietnamese mobile network operator for more than 20 years. Tra was MobiFone’s deputy general director and director of the company’s mobile centre in HCM City before his appointment as general director.
Mobifone split from the Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) this June and will be under the direct management of the MoIC. This is part of the plan to restructure VNPT. Minister Nguyen Bac Son said the Ministry aims to finalize the restructuring of VNPT this year so that the group can operate in the new model from 2015. This process will include the transfer of three VNPT’s subsidiaries (including Mobifone) to the Ministry.