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Shutting down 2G not feasible as 70 million still subscribe

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About 70 million people subscribe to 2G in Vietnam, according to the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC).

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There are 70 million mobile phone subscribers in Vietnam


The HCM City Information & Communication Department has urged the ministry to outline a roadmap for 2G shutdown. Watchdog agencies typically shut down 2G to make wavebands available for the development of new technologies, such as 4G and 5G. 

In Vietnam, the waveband demand for 4G technology has become urgent. Though 4G services have been available for one year, there is still no specific waveband for 4G, and 4G is now operating on the 1800Mhz allocated to 2G. 

As a result, the network speed still cannot reach the ideal rate and is just equal to 3G.

A senior executive of the military telco Viettel said the shutdown concerns three parties.

MIC, or the watchdog agency, needs to set up a long term plan on using wavebands. Since wavebands are limited, the plan needs to be designed in a way to ensure the harmonized use of different technologies. 

The second is telcos. All are operating 2G, 3G and 4G networks and need to calculate how many clients there are on each network. If the number of 2G subscribers is very low, for example, it can shut down 2G network. As telcos have invested in three networks, their operation costs will be cut by 1/3 if they shut down one network.

The third party is clients. It would be difficult to shut down 2G if telcos have a high number of subscribers who don’t have demand for data, but only for text and voice calls.

In principle, the 2G network only serves messaging and voice calls, 3G serves voice calls and data, while 4G focuses on data, connecting people. If 2G is shut down, 3G will have to undertake voice call service of 2G. The number of 2G subscribers remains relatively high.

According to MIC, there are 70 million 2G subscribers. Telcos also reported that they have tens of million of 2G subscribers for each. This means that 2G is still the bread earner of network operators.

With such a high number of 2G subscribers, shutting down 2G now or in three to five years is not feasible. If telcos want subscribers to shift from 2G to 3G, they will have to prop up 3G devices for subscribers. Currently, a 3G smartphone is priced at least VND1.5-2 million. 

As such, telcos would have to spend tens of trillion of dong if they prop up 3G devices for clients.



Source: VietNamNet

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