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Telco asks Vietnamese PM for higher frequency band allocation

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Vietnamobile has petitioned the Prime Minister to create a fair policy on frequency brand allocation.

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Vietnamobile is the network developed by Hanoi Telecom and Hutchison


Vietnamobile is a joint venture between Hanoi Telecom and Hutchison (Hong Kong). It has asked the government to allocate an additional 850 Mhz frequency band and set a reasonable policy so that it can have opportunities to use the 2600 Mhz frequency band in the upcoming bidding. 

In addition, the mobile network operator has asked the government to set basic principles for it to negotiate with other operators on sharing 1800 Mhz and 2100 Mhz.

The licensing of frequency bands in Vietnam has seen two significant periods. Before the Law on Radio Frequency took effect on July 1, 2010, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) allocated bands based on capability and requests from telcos.

The law on 2010 stipulates that telcos have to take exams or attend auctions to obtain the right to use frequency bands with high economic value and demand higher than supply. The Prime Minister decided which frequency bands will be put into auction.

After the law took effect, no new frequency band was licensed. All the frequency bands now in use were allocated before. The 3G band was allocated through exams in 2008, while the 4G band (2600 Mhz) will be allocated later. 

Currently, telcos are providing 4G services on frequency bands allocated before for 2G (1800 Mhz) and 3G (2100 Mhz) service.

In the past, the 1800 Mhz was granted by MIC to VIettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone. At that time, Vietnamobile used CDMA technology, not GSM as currently applied, so it did not need the 1800 Mhz, but wanted the 850 Mhz band.

Later, Vietnamobile shifted to GSM technology and cooperated with EVN Telecom to share the license to use the 2100 Mhz for 3G service. 

As the watchdog agency only granted four licenses for 3G, Vietnamobile had no other choice than to cooperate with EVN Telecom to share the remaining license.

Later, as EVN Telecom began to perform badly, it merged with Viettel, the military telco, which acquired half of the 3G license that had been granted to EVN Telecom before.

As a result, VinaPhone and MobiFone have one license each for the 3G band, while Viettel has 1.5 licenses and Vietnamobile 0.5. 

With a lower frequency band, telcos  have to set up more BTS, which will increase the production costs.

An expert said the biggest problem in telecom service management in Vietnam was the presence of too many mobile service providers (the number once reached seven). In other countries, licenses are granted to three to four firms only.



Source: VietNamNet

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