Reporters of the People’s Army Newspaper would like to introduce an interview about Viettel's 4G deployment with the Deputy Director General.
Reporter: The Ministry of Information and Communications has recently asked mobile service providers to deploy and provide 4G services for their subscribers as soon as possible. How has Viettel been deploying its 4G network?
Mr. Thang: We have set a target to finish the installation of some 36,000 BTSs at the time we inaugurate the 4G services. We have also decided that the installation process will be completed in 6 months’ time so as to soon provide 4G services for people as well as to prepare infrastructure for a shortcut to the fourth industrial revolution.
Deputy Director General of Viettel Tao Duc Thang
After four months installing 4G BTSs, Viettel has reached nearly 70% of the set plan, and its 4G network has so far covered 704 districts or 99% of the country’s districts. By the end of April 2017, we will definitely have installed 36,000 4G BTSs and will be ready to run the group’s entire 4G network.
With the great effort of the group’s staff, Viettel will build a 4G infrastructure system in six months’ time, which is bigger than its existing 3G infrastructure system built in 8 years. When the group’s 4G infrastructure system is finished, its 4G network will cover 95% of the country, including remote, mountainous and border areas and islands, with 4G services.
Reporter: As some people do not believe that Viettel’s 4G network can cover 99% of the country’s districts, could you please reveal the methods that it will have been able to complete such a large 4G infrastructure system in such a short time?
Mr. Thang: To install a large number of BTSs across the country in a short time, Viettel’s leadership had had a strategic vision long before the BTSs construction started. We have well perceived that the deployment of a 4G network does not only benefits the group’s business, but also contributes to accelerating the popularization of the broadband internet access at the national scale. We also comprehend that the fourth industrial revolution is not simply a revolution of technology; instead it focuses on technology application. Businesses and people who could understand the concept and see opportunity will win the game. Viettel is trying to provide 4G services as soon as possible, supporting businesses and all 90 million Vietnamese people in snatching the opportunity. From the strategic vision, Viettel’s leadership has decided to invest in a large quantity of machinery and equipment and a large-scale construction of 4G infrastructure while its staff have dedicated themselves to the 4G project. We even have placed ourselves in a state of emergency and given all priorities to the 4G project.
Additionally, we had prepared the infrastructure for a long time before we officially started the project; as a result, the project could be implemented that quickly. At this point, Viettel has the largest optical fiber network in the country, which can coil round the earth more than eight times. That is part of the infrastructural foundation helping us deploy the 4G project quickly.
What is more, we have had much experience in deploying a 4G network in our foreign markets, such as Cambodia, Laos, Burundi, Haiti and East Timor. The building of nearly 36,000 BTSs in six months could be seen as a feat but this results from Viettel’s leadership’s long-run strategic vision and careful calculation; a high sense of resolve of the whole group; and Viettel’s experienced and elite staff.
Reporter: The Prime Minister has recently requested mobile service providers to provide real 4G services rather than 3G+ ones. How would Viettel ensure the quality of its 4G network as requested by the Prime Minister?
Mr. Thang: The Ministry of Information and Communications has licensed mobile service providers to run 4G technology on the frequency band of 1800 MHz. So it requires mobile service providers to invest in their transmission networks in terms of the width, depth and large capacity so as to ensure the speed of the internet access for their customers. A 4G network is alike a 3G one if the network does not have a sufficient number of 4G BTSs, and its wave covering is not in depth. That is why Viettel has been investing a large number of BTSs.
With its plan to build 36,000 BTSs and invest in a complete and powerful infrastructure system, Viettel’s leaders have promised the Prime Minister that its 4G network will reach all standards of 4G. In fact, the speed of the internet access in localities Viettel is now running its 4G network is 6-10 times faster than the 3G network. We have also planned to expand the capacity of our 4G network to meet an increasing number of 4G subscribers, and are asking the Ministry of Information and Communications to license the frequency band of 2.6 GHz to mobile service providers so that they can provide best services for their customers.
Reporter: How do you compare Viettel’s 4G network with 36,000 BTSs to other telecoms in the region and world?
Mr. Thang: I have been to many countries to learn about 4G networks. I must say that no telecoms in the world, including Vodafone, Singtel, Verizon and EE, invested from the beginning in a 4G network with wide and deep covering like Viettel. Normally, mobile service providers will first invest in cities and towns, and then they gradually extend their networks to the countryside. Viettel with its vision does not want to see any Vietnamese lagging behind the forth industrial revolution so it has decided to invest in 4G on a large scale and with a high quality.
Viettel is now determined to realize its aspirations to enter Vietnam into the world communication map as well as to advance high-quality telecommunications infrastructure as a premise for the country to develop and snatch opportunities from the fourth industrial revolutions.
Interviewed by Van Phong
Translated by Thu Nguyen