|The Ministry of Information and Communications plans to withdraw mobile bandwidths that it provided to S-Fone and EVN Telecom mobile carriers due to fading operations.— File Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — The Ministry of Information and Communications plans to withdraw mobile bandwidths that it provided to S-Fone and EVN Telecom mobile carriers due to fading operations.
The EVN Telecom uses 450 MHz bandwidth spectrum and Sfone uses 850MHz, both of which were allocated by the ministry since the two companies began operations.
However, while EVN Telecom had been taken over by Viettel in early 2012, Korean-invested S-Fone nearly postponed its operation due to falling subscribers.
Pham Sy Hoa, general director of SPT, the Vietnamese partner of S-Fone, stated that the network is still running its operations at a bare minimum level as its Korean partner, SK Telecom, had not yet fully withdrawn from the joint venture.
In late 2012, ailing S-Fone made most of its nationwide employees redundant in order to end its Business Co-operation Contract mechanism and change to a limited liability company.
Having commenced operations in Viet Nam in 2003 as the third mobile operator after MobiFone and Vina-phone, S-Fone is a joint venture between the Korean telecom giant SK Telecom and Sai Gon Postel (SPT).
The company also became the first mobile operator to implement the advanced CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology in Viet Nam, while other carriers still used GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications).
However, due to the limited models of CDMA's terminal handsets, the company was unable to expand its customer base, with just over a million subscribers after a decade of operations, and will reportedly stop offering its services.
After SK Telecom withdrew from the venture in 2011, S-Fone has failed to find a new investor to revive its ailing network.
The company, which also wants to upgrade its network technology from CDMA to HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) to increase its subscriber base, had a turnover of merely VND786 billion (US$37.78 million) in 2011.
The company did not release any turnover report in 2012 and 2013.
In recent years, new mobile subscriptions in Viet Nam have skyrocketed, reaching 19 million in 2006, 25 million in 2007, 74 million in 2008, and 98 million in 2009. By the end of 2013, there were 134 million recorded subscribers. — VNS