|Tào Đức Thắng, deputy general director of Viettel Group. VNS Photo
Tào Đức Thắng, deputy general director of Viettel Group, tells Việt Nam News about preparations for the nation-wide launch of 4G services.
How has Viettel prepared for launching 4G services?
We had set a goal to launch 4G services with 36,000 base transceiver stations, and this work was to be completed within just six months. We are sure that when we launch the service – on April 18 -- 95 per cent of the population, including people living in rural, remote, mountainous, border and island regions, will get 4G services.
Within six months Viettel has built bigger infrastructure for 4G than its 3G infrastructure that was built over eight years.
Our group’s leaders have a vision in investing in 4G infrastructure. It is not only infrastructure for business, it is infrastructure that will popularise broadband internet access in the country. The fourth industrial revolution does not involve technology, it involves application. Therefore, our whole system have focused on 4G projects, all investment and equipment purchase has been done on a huge scale.
Viettel has been making preparations for 4G infrastructure for a long time. It has the biggest fibre-optic cable infrastructure in Việt Nam. Its fibre-optic cables will go around the earth eight times [if laid out in a straight line] and are present in many communes. This is the most important infrastructural foundation for us to quickly install 4G infrastructure.
Furthermore, we have had experience in rolling out 4G services in many international markets like Cambodia, Laos, Burundi, Haiti, Peru, East Timor. Installation of 36,000 4G BTSs within six months is an outstanding task and based on a long-term vision, careful calculation, and on experienced and professional staff.
The Government recently said all mobile service providers must ensure the quality of their 4G services is 4G and not 3G plus. How does Viettel plan to ensure good quality?
The Ministry of Information and Communications has issued 4G establishment licences to mobile phone service providers in the 1,800MHz frequency. Mobile phone service providers must ensure features including wide, deep coverage and high capacity to provide high speeds for 4G services. That is why Viettel had to install a huge number of new BTSs for its 4G services. If we install a limited number of BTSs, coverage will not be enough and 4G services will become 3G plus service, as the Prime Minister fears.
Viettel’s 36,000 4G BTS will be linked by fibre-optic cables and our investmet strategy is “wherever we install 4G BTS, 4G service quality will be ensured”. We are confident that Viettel’s 4G services will be real 4G and speeds will be 6 – 10 times faster than 3G.
With respect to the technical aspect, the current frequency of 1,800MHz is basically enough for 4G, but after the initial period the number of 4G users will increase and 4G speeds will be affected. We have requested the Ministry of Information and Telecommunication to allocate the 2.6GHz frequency for enterprises to ensure optimum quality for 4G services.
Can you compare the size of Viettel’s 4G infrastructure with that of other international and regional 4G service providers?
I have travelled to many nations around the world to find out how international providers implement 4G services. And I can vouch that no service provider in the world, including Vodafone, Singtel, Verizon, EE, has invested in a wide and deep 4G infrastructure right at the beginning like Viettel. Usually, mobile phone service providers first offer 4G services in urban areas and cities and later on in rural areas.
Viettel, with its vision, does not want Việt Nam to miss the chance to catch up with the 4th industrial revolution, and so we decided to invest a huge amount for wide and deep 4G coverage.
With our 4G infrastructure, Viettel would like to improve Việt Nam’s position on the international telecommunication map as well as prepare for the development of the country based on the 4th industrial revolution and on the foundation of telecommunication and broadband. — VNS