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ASEAN pushes forward with 5G connectivty cooperation



As ASEAN chair this year, Vietnam is playing a crucial role in further cementing joint activities within the bloc via boosting the application of high technologies to adapt to Industry 4.0, which is sweeping throughout the region.

ASEAN pushes forward with 5G connectivty cooperation
ASEAN pushes forward with 5G connectivty cooperation. Photo: Shutterstock

It is expected that at the coming 37th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam in November this year, the country and regional member states will discuss solutions to boost the application of 5G regionwide, enabling the bloc to materialise its dream of becoming an e-bloc over the next decade.

5G connectivity is considered part of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, which is the central node to enhance data management, facilitate harmonisation of data regulations among ASEAN member states, and promote intra-ASEAN data flows.

However, this is largely a self-run programme by member countries, so ASEAN nations will need to maintain discipline to build momentum. The impetus will become more pronounced as 5G begins to be rolled out across Southeast Asia.

Vietnam is now encouraging all member states to speed up their digital transformation in different sectors by interconnecting telecommunications networks.

The ASEAN bloc is now jointly boosting the implementation of some new initiatives that Vietnam advanced two years ago in Hanoi, including a “pan-ASEAN roaming charge for mobile phones” or the “Roam like home” initiative to build a “flat” ASEAN – all these initiatives aim to make roaming charges as cheap as national charges.

In Vietnam, there are four big mobile network operators. Of these, Viettel subscribers can roam to 213 countries and 524 carriers, and Vinaphone can roam to 180 countries and 466 carriers, while MobiFone and Vietnamobile subscribers can also roam to many countries and carriers, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications’ (MIC) Department of International Cooperation.

Viettel already applies uniform charges for all calls, messages, and data among Viettel (Vietnam), Metfone (Cambodia), Unitel (Laos), and Mytel (Myanmar).

“Lowering international mobile roaming charges in ASEAN would surely boost customer demand and would not push users to buy local SIMs or hunt for Wi-Fi. It would go a long way towards promoting flat telecommunications in ASEAN,” said Hoang Minh Hang, representative of the department.

In order to realise the initiative, a consensus of all operators in a country needs to be achieved regarding charges to then begin negotiations between operators in ASEAN member countries.

“Cooperation in digital transformation and digital economy development will be a key topic of discussion at the coming 37th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam later this year,” said an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “With its great potential in IT and growing digital transformation, Vietnam is learning from other regional nations and also sharing its own experiences to develop into a digital economy and to develop the ASEAN into a big digital economy. This will also help ASEAN address its emerging challenges.”

According to the World Economic Forum, ASEAN is the fastest growing internet market in the world. With 125,000 new users connecting to the internet every day, the ASEAN digital economy is projected to grow significantly, adding an estimated $1 trillion to regional GDP over the next 10 years.

“For all governments, enterprises, and the society, digital transformation is no longer just a choice but a prerequisite for economic and business development,” said MIC Minister Nguyen Manh Hung.

In fact, a similar policy has been applied in the EU since 2017. Same as the ASEAN Economic Community, the EU is a single market characterised by four freedoms of movement: for goods, services, people, and capital.

According to Petri Koistinen, director general of DG Connect at the European Commission, EU operators act as a single actor within the World Trade Organization. The EU’s roaming regulation is an internal market instrument based on Article 114 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.

Excerpt from joint statement of the Sixth ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (October 2, 2020) Financing, payment, and service connectivity

We commend the efforts of the Working Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems for the completion of the Implementing Policy Guidelines (IPG) of the ASEAN Payments Policy Framework for Cross-Border Real-Time Retail Payments and the draft guidelines for updating the Annex on Use Cases of the IPG. We were also pleased to note the developments related to cross-border interoperability of standardised QR code for payments and innovative real time remittances, in particular the full implementation of the Singapore-Thailand link, and partial implementation between Laos-Thailand and Cambodia-Thailand links. We also look forward to the live operation of the Singapore-Thailand real-time retail payment system link in 2021.

Infrastructure financing

We expressed appreciation for the Asian Development Bank’s effort in operationalising the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) as a platform for ASEAN green infrastructure under the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund by undertaking origination, preparation, and screening of potential green projects. The ACGF is also supported by formidable cofinancing partners with close to $1.5 billion in commitments.

We acknowledged the progress of the collaboration on infrastructure financing between the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF) and the Working Committee on Capital Market Development. This collaboration focused on developing a set of guiding principles for the standardisation of contractual terms for infrastructure financing that are practical and effective for project documents as well as project finance loan documents to facilitate more private capital financing in the region. VIR

Huong Thanh



GE announces new contract with EVNGENCO 3



GE and EVNGENCO 3 sign the new contract on October 26 – PHOTO: COURTESY OF GE

HCMC – GE on October 26 announced a new contract with Vietnamese state-owned power utility Power Generation Joint Stock Corporation 3 (EVNGENCO 3) to continue supplying parts and services for its Phu My 2.1 and 4 power plants.

The two plants are located in the 3,900-megawatt (MW) Phu My Power Generation Center in the southern part of the country and provide approximately 10% of the country’s energy needs.

The five-year service agreement includes the provision of new and reconditioning parts and on-site services for four GE GT13E2 gas turbines and STF-D200-combined cycle steam turbine units, helping to increase the safe and reliable operations and efficiency of EVNGENCO 3’s power plants.

“As the largest power generation center in Vietnam, we have a responsibility to ensure seamless operations and no down time of our facilities,” said Dinh Quoc Lam, chairman of the board of directors of Power Generation Corporation 3, in a statement.

He added that “choosing GE was the natural choice to help us utilize the full potential of our plant’s assets. We have benefitted from GE’s proven track record of providing high-quality technology and services. GE’s support has been exceptional throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and with this service agreement, we trust in the company’s ability to continue to support us in achieving our business goals.”

GE’s GT13E2 Gas Turbines have been powering the two plants since 1997. GE upgraded the units to MXL2s over several years since 2016, resulting in an increased output of approximately 6% (from 440MW to 465MW) and improved efficiency levels from 51.8% to 53.7%.

“Vietnam has achieved impressive progress toward rapid economic development in the past few decades built on the backdrop of increasing access to electricity to power its people and businesses,” Pham Hong Son, CEO, GE Vietnam, said in the statement, adding, “We are honored to continue to provide EVNGENCO 3 with our safe, reliable and in-region support, and ultimately help Vietnam achieve its energy goals for its national economic growth.”

GE’s GT13E2 gas turbine offers industry-leading efficiency. Its installed base of over 170 units operating in 35 countries cumulates over 14 million operating hours and generates 400 GW/h per day. The turbine capability to operate in extreme conditions (from -50°C to +55°C) and its high utilization rate of some 5,000 operating hours per units per year on average demonstrates the engine’s success and reliability. GE has performed over 500 C-Inspections and installed 39 MXL2 upgrades on 13E2 machines.

During the ceremony, an MoU was signed with EVNGENCO 3 as part of GE’s commitment to support the growth of the country’s power sector and human capital development. The MoU envisages that GE will support training and capability building of EVNGENCO 3’s personnel to execute field services related to steam turbine and generator equipment maintenance. GE and EVNGENCO 3 will also work together to explore collaboration for service opportunities related to steam turbine and generator equipment owned by EVNGENCO 3 and other power generation companies.


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VN-Index takes nosedive due to selling pressure



Customers transact at Bao Viet Securities Company. The indexes of the HCMC and Hanoi exchanges tumble today, June 27, due to sell-offs – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Strong selling pressure drove the local stock market down today, October 26, with the VN-Index of the Hochiminh Stock Exchange losing 10.46 points, or 1.09%.

With losing stocks outnumbering winners by 286 to 137, the benchmark index closed the day at 950.8 points.

Trade volume totaled 428.25 million shares worth nearly VND8.6 trillion, inching down 5.36% and 9.61%, respectively, over the previous session. Nearly 23.5 million shares valued at VND597.13 billion were traded in block deals.

In the VN30 basket, only seven stocks advanced, with consumer goods stock MSN adding 2.2% at VND87,900, and six others picking up some 1%.

Most bank stocks in the basket closed at their lowest prices of the day.

Specifically, BID lost 4.2% at VND41,000; CTG dropped 4.1% at VND30,500; STB plummeted 3.09% at VND14,100; and VPB plunged 4.44% at VND24,300.

Small and medium stocks, such as real estate firms FLC and HAG, agricultural firm HAI and industrial zone developer ITA, also closed deep in the red.

The HNX-Index of the Hanoi Stock Exchange also lost 1.88%, or 2.67 points, against the session earlier, at 139.03 points. There were 55.67 million shares worth VND776.33 billion changing hands on the northern bourse.

Many large-cap stocks tumbled. For example, lender ACB slid an astounding 3.1% at VND24,800, while construction firm VCG fell 4.1% at VND41,800. In addition, gas firm PVS slipped 2.9% at VND13,500.

ACB and PVS were the most traded stocks on this market, with 11.66 million and 6.8 million shares, respectively, matched.


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Ultra-large container ship docks at Cai Mep terminal



Margrethe Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, arrives at Cai Mep International Terminal in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on October 25 – PHOTO: PLO

HCMC – Margrethe Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, arrived at Cai Mep International Terminal (CMIT) in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 25.

The container vessel, operated by 2M Alliance, a container shipping industry alliance between Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is able to carry over 18,000 twenty-foot containers at a time. It measures nearly 400 meters in length and 59 meters in width.

The ship’s port call has marked an important milestone in the maritime industry of Vietnam, making CMIT one of some 20 major ports worldwide capable of receiving vessels of this size.

The port’s eligibility to handle such huge container ships has demonstrated good management capacity and coordination among the competent agencies and port businesses, which have smoothed the way for the port to grow further.


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