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Vietnam gears up to deploy commercial 5G in late 2020



Vietnam’s key players in the telecommunications sphere are mobilizing resources to launch their 5G service by the end of 2020.

The official frequency planning announced by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) on August 20 is considered a giant step forward in Vietnam’s 5G development roadmap.

Considering the current progress, Vietnam might arrive as one of the first countries in the world to successfully roll out the novel telecom standard for commercial use.

5G coverage underway

After several test runs, the military-owned mobile network operator Viettel announced on July 6 they were piloting commercial 5G coverage by launching Viettel-manufactured 5G base stations at the MIC headquarters in Hanoi.

Speed tests showed “download speed reaching 500Mbps [megabits per second] and functioning with stability,” a Viettel representative said.

The telco giant will commercialize 5G microcell technology in October 2020, a delay from the intended launch date of June 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.

By June 2021, the state-owned telecom will have introduced 5G microcell to its entire network, the representative added.

Specifically, Viettel will develop products of civilian as well as military use on a domestically built “5G ecosystem.”

Catch up with Viettel in the 5G race is the mobile carrier MobiFone, who received the license to deploy 5G communications in April 2019.

The MIC-owned network has also liaised with the world’s top-ranking telecoms equipment suppliers to run technical tryouts in Hanoi, Da Nang, Hai Phong and Ho Chi Minh City.

“The results are promising with download speed recorded at 2Gbps [gigabits per second],” a MobiFone representative revealed.

In March 2020, MobiFone announced its success on the 5G pilot at the four aforementioned cities, which predicated the launch of its nationwide 5G coverage as well as supporting services in the domestic market.

As its 5G test license has been extended to May 2021, MobiFone has been deploying phase 2 of its 5G network tests, focusing on modernizing infrastructure and introducing pilot services to customers.

The group also insinuated its readiness to commercialize 5G service as soon as its official license arrives — tentatively in early 2021.

In April 2020, the state-owned telco Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) also announced its successful test runs of 5G on its mobile service provider subsidiary VinaPhone in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

During the test environment, VinaPhone’s 5G returned an ideal latency rate of near-zero, while its speed fared at 2.2Gbps, a ten-fold improvement from the preceding 4G technology.

This result is the best 5G performance ever recorded among service providers in Vietnam and is coming close to the global 5G standard.

With the successful incorporation of 5G into the current infrastructure, VNPT claimed its preparedness in technical, technological and infrastructural aspects to launch 5G commercially.

Delegates join a ceremony to launch Vietnam’s first 5G call by telecoms group Viettel in Hanoi on May 10, 2019. Photo: T. Ha / Tuoi Tre
Delegates join a ceremony to launch Vietnam’s first 5G call by telecoms group Viettel in Hanoi, May 10, 2019. Photo: T. Ha / Tuoi Tre

Harness the power of 5G

On January 17, Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung and Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh made the first 5G video call using gNodeB, a technology infrastructure with both hardware and software aspects developed by Viettel.

The milestone came just eight months after Vietnam’s first 5G call using hardware by a foreign provider.

Despite limitations in the download speed, the achievement helped land the Vietnamese tech giant into the league of 5G network equipment manufacturers alongside the likes of Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and ZTE.

A Viettel representative said the group is aiming to “harness 5G technology and secure a place among the global top-ranking 5G network infrastructure equipment manufacturers.”

“5G base stations produced by Viettel will meet the requirements of all network operators in Vietnam as well as for exports by meeting standards set by the world’s top telecommunications organizations such as 3GPP and GSMA,” he added.

Viettel is prioritizing the research into core technology, accelerating the test processes and collecting user responses to optimize their products in the fastest time possible.

Experts in the sector anticipate self-sufficiency in terms of the 5G infrastructure will render Viettel in a favorable position to kickstart its 5G network and supporting service commercialization.

MobiFone has also entered the 5G facility niche by signing a cooperation deal with Viettel and the Vietnamese smartphone manufacturer VinSmart to contrive research, production and testing on a “make in Vietnam” 5G apparatus.

The telco is also looking to construct an ecosystem with 5G-integrated services and applications with the launch date set in early 2021.

Prospects for customers

Tao Duc Thang, deputy general director of Viettel, said the successful conclusion of 5G connection tests will be followed up by a large-scale 5G rollout in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city before the official commercialization in late 2020.

The commercialization will also be divided into phases, with cities of high user density gaining access to the service before remote areas.

Terminal equipment, a category of telecommunications hardware that includes mobile phones, will play a pivotal role in the implementation of this vision.

VinSmart, the two-year-old smartphone manufacturing business of Vietnamese conglomerate Vingroup, introduced its 5G-compatible phone Vsmart Aris in July during the “Make in Vietnam” technology fair organized by the MIC in Hanoi.

Vsmart Aris is the first 5G capable smartphone manufactured in Vietnam. It was used as the test subject during pilot runs of 5G networks by domestic service providers.

VinSmart is also the first Vietnamese firm to be capable of manufacturing 5G terminal equipment, opening up prospects for Vietnamese consumers to get their hands on a 5G device at an affordable price.

According to Vu Hoang Lien, chairman of the Vietnam Internet Association (VIA), 5G holds a predominant advantage to its predecessors in frequency, bandwidth, speed and latency, which guarantees a better user experience.

The improvement in speed and response time will help reduce opportunity costs and enhance efficiency as well as competitiveness for telecommunications services.

5G speed will also open the door for services previously unfeasible in the 4G environment, among which are video-based applications, virtual reality, remote medical and education services, self-driving cars and automatic remote control.

Considering the superior capacity for response time and plural connections, 5G will make ways for the Internet of Things (IoT), automation and robot science applications, he added.

The chairman said he is positive about Vietnam’s readiness for Vietnam in regards of both demand and infrastructure capacity.

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Vietnam lacks chefs to serve tourism boom



Vietnam lacks chefs to serve tourism boom

A cook fries eggs at a restaurant in central Da Nang City. Photo by Shutterstock/PJiiiJane.

Demand for chefs is constantly rising with growing tourism, but supply cannot keep up due to lack of training.

The tourism industry requires around 40,000 workers a year, 8 percent of them for F&B, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

Le Mai Khanh, vice chairwoman of the Vietnam Hotel Association, said but for a small number of professional chefs at four- and five-star hotels, most chefs in other hotels lack professional expertise and cannot cook a wide range of dishes or meet customers’ demands.

“Hotels and kitchens [therefore] intensely compete for skilled workers.”

Nguyen Xuan Minh, executive chef at the five-star Hanoi Daewoo Hotel, told local media: “Large hotels mostly have foreigners, who cannot make Vietnamese cuisine well, as head chefs. This results in slow development of the culinary field and a lack of diversity in tourism products.”

There are 9,000 hotels and restaurants in the country but only 190 institutions that offer hospitality training, including universities, colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, and short-course training establishments.

According to a survey by the HCMC Professional Chefs Guild, only 30 percent of chefs in Ho Chi Minh City have formal training.

“Traditional cooks are limited in terms of knowledge of culinary culture, food preservation, processing methods, and food safety and hygiene. They are also not proficient in the use of chemical additives and seasoning, and often cook by instinct,” Minh said.

“So, to make cuisine a tourism product, we need to focus on developing human resources for the kitchen,” he added

The big demand for chefs offers huge opportunities for young people, according to industry insiders.

The Hanoi Center for Employment Services said the monthly salary for commis starts at VND7 million ($303). The average monthly income of head chefs in hotels and restaurants is VND15 – 20 million, but could rise to hundreds of millions of dong (VND100 million = $4,334) in large hotels.

Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, Vu The Binh, said there are over 50,000 chefs currently working in large hotels and restaurants, and over 100,000 others working for other establishments.


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Interest rate for home loans forecast to stay low in 2021




The interest rate for home loans is expected to be kept low next year in a bid to stimulate demand for the real estate market. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Interest rates for home loans are expected to be kept at a low level next year to stimulate demand for real estate, which coupled with macro-economic recovery and an increase in supply is hoped to promote the housing market’s development, according to a report from the securities company VNDirect.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in January, the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) has slashed rates three times, in March, May and October to aid economic recovery, which helped ease the pressure of provision cost for banks and interest expenses for customers and enabled lenders to introduce stimulus packages for home purchases.

According to Trần Khánh Hiền, deputy head of Investment Analysis at VNDirect, the rate for home loans was reduced by about 1.8 percentage points to 9.5 per cent, the lowest rate in the past decade.

“In the context of cooling inflation pressure, we expect the SBV to maintain an adaptive monetary policy in 2021. Although we do not expect further rate cuts, we believe the SBV will not raise rates in 2021 to aid the economy through maintaining loose monetary policies,” Hiền said.

“Thus, the interest rate for home loans will be maintained at low levels in 2021 to stimulate demand for the housing market.”

VNDirect also predicted a robust recovery of the housing market next year fuelled by the country’s macro-economic recovery.

The global production shift expected to drive investment flow into Việt Nam will benefit the real estate market, especially industrial property. The Government’s efforts to hasten public investment disbursement with a focus on infrastructure development have also aided the real estate market.

The report also forecast that new supply would skyrocket due to the expectation that the amendments to Law on Construction and the Law on Investment 2020 which take effect from the beginning of next year will tackle legal bottlenecks.

With a number of projects set to resume construction in 2021, VNDirect forecast new supply in HCM City would increase by 10-15 per cent to reach 17,000 apartments.

In Hà Nội, the supply was predicted to increase by 50-60 per cent in 2021 to reach 23,000 apartments, mainly from mega-projects like Vinhomes Smart City, Vinhomes Ocean park, Sunshine Empire and Gamda City.

Regarding housing prices, VNDirect said that the trend was to rise, driven by improved demand and low-interest home loans.

Still, there would be no market bubble in the short term, VNDirect stressed. The market was now different from 2009-10 when inventories were high and prices were inflated, leading to the market collapse in 2013.  

Now, the market has limited supply and high demand while the cash flow continues to be pumped in the market.

Việt Nam’s real estate market had a cycle of seven years and the market could enter a strong growth period in 2021 if legal bottlenecks were tackled properly, VNDirect said.

The M&A activities are predicted to be robust next year as a number of small developers have fallen into difficulties due to the legal bottlenecks and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating opportunities for those with financial capacity. —


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Over 120,000 firms newly established in Jan-Nov



Residents carry out procedures for business establishment at the Department of Planning and Investment of Binh Duong Province. Some 124,300 firms were newly established between January and November – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – Some 124,300 firms were newly established between January and November, pledged capital of over VND1,870 trillion, inching down 1.9% in number and up 19.3% in capital year-on-year, according to the General Statistics Office.

During the 11-month period, the newly established companies had an average registered capital of VND15.1 billion, up 21.7% year-on-year. They also registered to recruit a total of 970,000 employees, down 14.7% year-on-year.

Besides, the number of firms that resumed operations rose by 10.7% year-on-year at 40,800. However, the period also witnessed a 15.6% rise in the number of enterprises suspending their operations, reaching some 93,500. Of the total, 15,400 companies completed procedures for dissolution, a year-on-year rise of 3.1%.

In addition, operational companies registered an additional VND3,086 trillion to fund their expansion plans, raising the total newly pledged capital to more than VND4,965 trillion during the period, up 35.1% year-on-year.

In November, the country saw some 13,100 newly-established firms with total pledged capital of VND284 trillion, up 7.3% and 72%, respectively, month-on-month. The new enterprises registered to employ 119,000 people, up 65.3% compared with the previous month.

Each new firm reportedly registered an average of VND21.8 billion in capital in November, a month-on-month increase of 60%, VietnamPlus news site reported.

Last month, over 5,310 firms returned to the local market, up 5.4% month-on-month and 59.8% year-on-year, while over 1,940 companies completed the procedures for dissolution, a year-on-year rise of 30.6%.


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