|Tào Đức Thắng, deputy general director of Viettel Group. — VNS Photo|
Viettel Group has announced it is ready to trial 5G services next year and will launch them immediately after the Ministry of Information and Communications allots it the frequency. Tào Đức Thắng, deputy general director of the military-owned company, tells Việt Nam News about the preparations.
Việt Nam expects to pilot 5G technology in 2019. How does Viettel prepare for this?
We would like to become the first network to offer 5G services and we readied infrastructure like fibre-optic cable and base transceiver stations (BTSs) a long time ago. Viettel has the advantage of having a nation-wide fibre-optic cable network, even in remote and mountainous areas.
We hope to get information about the frequency as soon as possible for us and other network providers to ensure proper design and equipment for 5G services in line with the Ministry of Information and Communication’s technical standards.
We have already tied up with our suppliers to research and manufacture 5G equipment, including 5G BTSs and core system to support 5G technology, and end-user equipment.
For example, if we have 3G end-user equipment, we cannot use it for 4G. If we would like to have a complete network, we need end-user equipment, 5G transceiver devices, network, and connection between transceiver stations and switchboard.
What spectrum does Viettel expect to be allotted?
When Viettel deployed 4G services, we refarmed the 2G frequency of 1,800MHz. However, refarming is not enough to meet the rising demand. When the network has high speed, the bandwidth must have wide frequency.
Basically, we don’t have specialised frequency for 4G and we have to exploit 2G frequency.
I hope in the coming time the Ministry of Information and Communication will announce plans for 4G spectrum auction to enterprises.
Globally, the frequency for 5G is 2,300MHz, even 2,600MHz or 3,500MHz. The 5G frequency is much wider than 4G and I know the ministry is actively preparing for 5G services.
What do you think about the potential and opportunities of 5G technologies?
It is expected that in 2019 or 2020 several countries like Japan and China will introduce 5G technology. It means Việt Nam will be one of a few countries to soon have 5G services.
5G services are expected to create a revolution in terms of speed and stability for mobile devices. There will be no difference between wireless and fixed broadband and it will promote a wave of new technologies to resolve the challenge of how to connect at any time, anywhere and everything.
The benefits of 5G include the deployment of many technologies because of the availability of high-speed networks. It will resolve many limitations of the old technologies.
It also has interests in the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, Big Data and smart cities.
The 5G trial period will only be one year and in 2020 it will be introduced. Do you think it is too short a time to prepare?
For 4G, Viettel set up 36,000 base transceiver stations in just six months. BTS installation will surely take time but the most important things are the fibre-optic cable system and location of BTSs.
Viettel already has the biggest telecom infrastructure, so the deployment will be quick.
For 5G, providers are ready with networks. The question is whether users are willing to use 5G and about the readiness of end-user equipment. When the market and end-user equipment are available, 5G deployment is very easy.
In 2015 Viettel set up a research group for 5G technology and we have mastered the software, core technology for 5G equipment, hardware design for high-frequency transmission and others.
Viettel can design and manufacture 4G BTSs and other important parts of the 3G/4G network, which it has set up in Việt Nam and 10 international markets. — VNS