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Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Vietnam moves to reduce government presence in telecoms

Any review of the telecoms market in Vietnam must take into account the nature and structure of the government. Whilst nominally a communist state and therefore a centrally planned economy, it has undergone significant structural change over the years. After revising its attitude to the market economy and the role of the private sector, the government has progressively introduced some competition into the market place, building what it describes as ‘a socialist oriented market economy.’ There is no doubt that this change of policy and outlook resulted in a fresh growth momentum within the nation. Nevertheless it remains a one-party system, moving slowing in the implementing of social and economic reform and simply avoiding some reforms altogether. This background is important in understanding the manner in which the country’s telecom sector has been developing in 2015.

The government is finally addressing the restructure of the VNPT. After numerous false starts and a variety of proposals, it had finally agreed to hive off MobiFone from the state-owned parent and sell shares via an IPO. Steps had already been taken that indicated the process was now irreversible. The IPO was set for 2016.

Vietnam’s mobile market is growing, but had slowed significantly into 2015; fixed-line subscriber numbers have declined sharply; and broadband is booming boosted by mobile broadband services and fibre-based fixed broadband. Much earlier, the government had set ambitious targets in the telecom sector for the expansion of infrastructure. But it fell well short of these targets. Things began to change, however, mainly on the back of an increasingly competitive mobile sector. Vietnam’s mobile market has grown strongly over the last decade in particular. This was evidence that the competition model the government had put in place, although limited, was in fact working. The mobile market stalled in 2013, suffering a major correction in that year. By 2015 growth had returned but was generally slower, as already noted.

In the meantime, having come late to the internet, Vietnam is finally embracing the higher access speeds offered by the various broadband platforms. Although there has been a surge in subscriber numbers, fixed broadband remains a relatively small but expanding market segment. The fixed broadband services have been largely based on DSL technology; more recently, fibre-based broadband services are starting to replace DSL as the fixed broadband option, with FttH subscriptions growing by more than 150% in 2014. Most significantly, the arrival of mobile broadband has seen much wider access to faster internet speeds. The penetration of mobile broadband services was more than four times that of fixed broadband by 2015. An important aspect of the internet market is that the government has been particularly active in the development of cyber laws, no doubt because of its deeply ingrained political culture of central control.

The significant presence of fixed-line services throughout the country had been against the global trend for a developing economy (a high point of 20% penetration in 2009); however, fixed-line numbers have declined dramatically in recent years and by 2015 penetration had fallen to around 5%.

It needs to be said that the broad telecom market growth in Vietnam is happening amidst a sometimes confusing set of statistics. The figures published both by the government, the operators and other industry sources are often contradictory and earlier figures are often revised. In this report, where there is any doubt about the statistics issued, BuddeComm publishes in its tables what are considered the most likely figures or provides estimates.

Key developments:

broadband market growing strongly, on back of vigorous mobile broadband sector;
annual growth in fixed broadband subscribers at 16% in 2014 and similarly into 2015
mobile market had reached 150% penetration milestone coming into 2015;
overall growth in mobile subscribers has slowed;
Vietnam’s second satellite, Vinasat-2, has been launched;
MobiFone, separated from VNPT, preparing for an IPO, possibly in 2016;
MIC revoked the operator licence of struggling S-Fone;
MIC authorised operators to launch trial 4G/LTE networks;
MIC preparing for 4G, with licensing expected in 2016;
FttP broadband subscribers were growing at an annual rate of 100%+ into 2015;
DSL technology was still supporting the majority of fixed broadband services;
Viettel a clear leader in the fibre market with 55% share of the subscriber base;
MIC set 2017 as target date for introducing Mobile Number Portability (MNP);
Despite effective 3G network rollout nationwide, subscriber numbers lower than expected;
Viettel was continuing to expand its overseas ventures, with ambitious plans announced;
government continues tight control of internet, with sudden clamp downs from time to time;
mobile operator Vinaphone introduced an ‘e-medicine service’ for customers;
a schedule had been put in place for the digitalisation of TV broadcasting in Vietnam;
DVB-T2 terrestrial digital TV standard selected by regulator;
government was to subsidise poor households in purchasing terrestrial digital TV receivers.

Companies mentioned in this report:

VNPT; Vinaphone; Mobifone; Viettel; S-Fone; EVN Telecom; Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); GMobile/GTel; Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC); FPT Telecom; SaiGonNet; NetNam; Vietnam Television Technology Investment and Development Company (VTC); FPT Telecom; Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); Gmobile (formerly Beeline); Facebook; Google; Vietnam Cable TV (VCTV); SCTV; K+; Alibaba, EBay; BTS-Hanoi; HTVC-HCM City; VTC; Qualcomm; Red River Delta; CMC; DN khac.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics Vietnam - 2015
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2014
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2014
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2014
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2014
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • Background
      • Economy
        • Table Vietnam's GDP real growth rate - 2006 - 2016
      • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Mobile operators
      • Foreign investment
      • The government's role
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)
      • Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA)
    • GOVERNMENT POLICIES
      • Liberalisation
      • Privatisation of state-owned enterprises: VNPT
      • Decree limiting shares in telecom companies
    • TELECOM LICENCES
    • NUMBER PORTABILITY (NP)
  • COMPETITION ISSUES
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS
    • INTRODUCTION
      • Table Historical - Fixed-line subscribers and market share by operator - 2011
    • VIETNAM POST &TELECOMMUNICATIONS (VNPT)
      • Overview
      • Statistics
        • Table Historical - VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration - 2000 - 2005
        • Table VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2015
    • VIETTEL
    • FPT TELECOM
    • GTEL
    • FORMER OPERATORS
      • VP Telecom/EVN Telecom
      • Saigon Postel
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Overview
      • Statistics
        • Table Historical - Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration - 1990 - 2004
        • Table Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2005 - 2015
      • Forecasts - fixed-line subscribers - 2015; 2017; 2020
        • Table Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2017; 2020
    • NEW DEVELOPMENTS
      • Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
      • Proposed Samsung investment
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Background to development
        • Table Total international internet bandwidth - 2003 - 2015
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
    • SPECIFIC IT DEVELOPMENTS
      • Cloud services
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • STATISTICS
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers - 2003 - 2015
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers and household overview - 2014
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration - 2010 - 2015
      • Table Historical - Internet users and penetration - 1998 - 2005
      • Table Internet users and penetration - 2006 - 2015
      • Table Historical - Fixed internet subscribers - 1998 - 2008
      • Table Estimated fixed internet subscribers - 2009 - 2014
      • Table Households with internet access - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Total international internet bandwidth - 2003 - 2015
      • Table Key internet statistics - November 2014
      • Table Forecast fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2017; 2020
    • REGULATORY
      • Introduction
      • Government control
      • Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC)
      • Vietnam National Internet eXchange (VNIX)
      • IPv6 v. IPv4
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL)
      • Introduction
        • Table Fixed broadband DSL subscribers - 2003 - 2014
      • Service providers
        • Table DSL subscribers and market share by provider - May 2014
        • Table Historical - VNPT/VDC DSL subscribers - 2005 - 2007
        • Table VNPT/VDC fixed broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2014
        • Table VNPT fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2009 - 2015
        • Table Viettel's DSL subscribers - 2007; 2014
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • Introduction
        • Table FttH subscribers - 2008 - 2015
      • Service providers
        • Table FttH subscribers and market share by provider - 2014
        • Table Viettel's FttX subscribers - 2014
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless broadband
      • WiMAX
      • Cable modem
      • Satellite internet
    • MOBILE BROADBAND
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
  • DIGITAL MEDIA
    • INTRODUCTION
      • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2014
    • DIGITALISATION
    • PAY TV
      • Table VTV's TV broadcasting units - subscribers - 2013
    • ADVERTISING
      • Table Market share of online advertising revenue - by enterprise - 2014
    • VIDEOSTREAMING
    • SOCIAL MEDIA
      • Introduction
        • Table Facebook users and penetration - 2012; 2015
    • VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP)
      • Background
  • DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • INTRODUCTION
      • Table Internet users and penetration - 2006 - 2015
      • Table Internet users by age - 2014
      • E-Commerce Development Master Plan - 2011- 2015
    • E-COMMERCE
      • Overview
        • Table Vietnam B2C e-commerce sales indicators - 2013; 2015
        • Table E-commerce sales - popularity of product categories - 2013
        • Table Top 10 most popular websites for online shopping - 2013
    • E-GOVERNMENT
      • Overview
      • E-taxation
    • E-HEALTH
      • E-Medicine
    • E-EDUCATION
      • E-Learning
    • TECHNOLOGY PARKS/FOCUS AREAS
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Historical - mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2015
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 2011 - 2015
        • Table Total 3G mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2015
        • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2015
        • Table Mobile operators - networks and total subscribers - 2013
        • Table Mobile operators - networks and total subscribers - 2014
        • Table Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - 2013
        • Table Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - 2014
        • Table Top three mobile operators - market share by subscribers - 2014
        • Table Mobile services revenue - 1993 - 2014
        • Table Mobile services sector estimated ARPU - 1998 - 2014
      • Forecasts - mobile services - 2015; 2017; 2020
        • Table Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates - 2015; 2017; 2020
      • Mobile Data
        • Table Total international internet bandwidth - 2003 - 2015
      • Mobile Broadband Statistics
        • Table Total 3G mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2015
        • Table Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration - 2010 - 2015
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Digital networks
        • Table 3G mobile subscribers by operator - March 2012
        • Table 3G mobile subscribers by operator - 2014
        • Table Total 3G mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2015
      • Other infrastructure developments
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Operators
      • VNPT
        • Table Historical - VNPT subscribers - 1998 - 2014
      • MobiFone
        • Table MobiFone subscribers - 1998 - 2014
        • Table MobiFone's 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2014
      • Vinaphone
        • Table Vinaphone subscribers - 1998 - 2014
        • Table Vinaphone: 3G subscribers - 2010 - 2014
      • Viettel
        • Table Viettel subscribers - 2004 - 2014
        • Table Viettel's 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2014
      • Vietnamobile (formerly Hutchison Vietnam/HT Mobile)
        • Table Historical - HT Mobile (CDMA) subscribers - 2006 - 2009
        • Table Vietnamobile (GSM) subscribers - 2009 - 2014
        • Table Vietnamobile's 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2014
      • Gmobile (formerly Beeline)
        • Table Gmobile (Beeline) subscribers - 2009 - 2014
      • Former operators
        • Table Historical - S-Fone subscribers - 2003 - 2013
        • Table Historical - EVN Telecom subscribers - 2006 - 2012
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • M-Commerce
      • M-Banking
      • Mobile Apps
      • Other m-content
    • MOBILE HANDSETS

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