Viettel Will Debut Commercial 5G Services


Viettel, the largest telecom company in Vietnam, will roll out commercial 5G services this year with technology it created itself that bypasses China’s Huawei, The Financial Times reported.

The company, which is owned by the state, will start positioning the mobile network technology in June and finish deployment across the country a year after.

Few companies have created commercial 5G technology successfully. Viettel said it would be the sixth maker of 5G equipment after companies like Ericsson and Nokia, among others. Viettel, for its part, has over 110 million clients in 11 nations, including Peru, Hati and Cambodia.

Viettel announced the plan Friday (Jan. 17) after completing its first test video call with a connection on its internally made equipment. The firm said it took half a year for its Viettel High Technology research and development division to create the software and hardware necessary for the call.

University of New South Wales Canberra Professor Emeritus Carl Thayer said, according to the report, “5G technology is the new frontier, and Viettel wants to stay abreast of that and for its own sake develop the new technology. On the security side, Vietnam has its own concerns because there have been hacking attacks, and there’s U.S. pressure as well.”

The news comes as Sens. Richard Burr from North Carolina and Mark Warner from Virginia have put forward a bill to push back against the dominance of China in 5G by offering to subsidize firms in the U.S. that are working on the innovation.

The Utilizing Strategic Allied Telecommunications Act bill would provide a minimum of $750 million to firms that work on the fifth-generation wireless technology and would offer $500 million to firms that use “trusted and secure” equipment around the globe. 

The legislation doesn’t name specific firms, but its purpose is to get the U.S. on par with equipment makers in China. Huawei reportedly has become the top worldwide supplier of mobile radio equipment.