Vietnamese tech firms export more 5G devices to the world

October 17, 2020 - 22:14
While the commercial 5G network is not yet operational in Việt Nam, local tech firms are exporting their 5G technology to the world.


A 5G signal booster installed by military telecommunication group Viettel in Hà Nội. Photo

 HÀ NỘI — While the commercial 5G network is not yet operational in Việt Nam, local tech firms are exporting their 5G technology to the world.

VinSmart, for example, has agreed to ship about 2 million of its Vsmart 5G smartphones to the US under outsourcing contracts this year.

“5G technology gives a new player like VinSmart a chance to compete with big players in the world," said Lê Thị Thu Thủy, vice chairwoman of VinSmart.

Just established in Hà Nội last year, the Vingroup unit became the first producer of 5G smartphones in Việt Nam. Thủy said it would export its own brand's 5G equipment to North American markets next year.

In a recent press conference in Hà Nội held by VinSmart and Qualcomm, Thủy told Việt Nam News that Vingroup has invested tens of millions of US dollars in developing R&D labs, production lines and employing local talents.

Thủy also said VinSmart spent a lot to have licenses to use the US-based Qualcomm's technology, one of the leading 5G providers and the most well-known chipset providers in the world.

The firms partnered up in December 2018 with a patent licensing agreement covering multimode complete terminals and Qualcomm has supported VinSmart in developing, manufacturing and selling branded multimode complete terminals such as 4G/5G smartphones to the US market.

Since the partnership, VinSmart has launched 13 smartphones based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Mobile platforms both in Viet Nam as well as in Spain, Russia, and Myanmar. This July, it launched its first 5G-enabled smartphones, the VinSmart Aris series.

Besides, smartphones, Qualcomm has also worked with VinSmart in developing 5G product categories such as MiFi (mobile WiFi routers), Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), Wi-Fi 6 Smart Home, AI Edge and Camera, and 5G laptops for both the Vietnamese and international markets.

Without a commercial 5G market in Việt Nam, Qualcomm and VinSmart use a lab 5G environment to make sure the devices are compatible with most network operators globally.

Thiều Phương Nam, country director for Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia at Qualcomm, said: “VinSmart’s first 5G-enabled smartphone produced in Viet Nam is evidence of Vingroup's capacity to research and develop 5G terminal devices, making it ready for the transformation of the telecoms infrastructure in the country. This creates confidence that Viet Nam can be on par with global peers on 5G technology in the future, and is good evidence for Việt Nam’s acceleration in the Industry 4.0 era.”

Mentioning Qualcomm's most important target is to help to bring 'Made in Viet Nam' products to the world, Nam added: “We are working to expand 5G technology not only in the smartphone industry but also in distance learning, health care, internet of things and smart manufacturing in the country."

In June, Qualcomm opened its first research and development facility in Southeast Asia in Hà Nội, aiming to develop wireless technologies and internet of things (IoT) technology and provide testing services to local manufacturing partners. Beside VinSmart, its other partners include the local tech firms Bkav, Viettel and VNPT.

Four days ago, CEO of Bkav Group Nguyễn Tử Quảng announced on his Facebook page that a batch of AI View security cameras built with Qualcomm’s technology will be exported to the US market this month. He also said four lines of AI View cameras of the firm have been certified to comply with US FCC standards.

The first batch of Bkav products with 5G technology was exported to India in June, Quảng added.

Chinese firm Huawei also sees Việt Nam as a promising 5G market and recently said it hopes to develop its 5G network in the country in industry, connectivity, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and computing.

According to Qualcomm’s leaders, 5G will boost local digital transformation and enhance tech-related manufacturing which currently accounts for 17 per cent of GDP.

Last year, Viettel was the first Vietnamese firm to complete a 5G network trial, followed by Vinaphone and Mobiphone.

Though the Ministry of Information and Communications' plan to commercialise the 5G network with entirely domestically produced equipment this month is not complete, Thủy from VinSmart told Việt Nam News: "Whenever the 5G network reaches a wide coverage in Viet Nam, we will be very ready to serve the local market."

Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobiphone have also told the media they expected to commercialise their latest mobile network technology in 2021. — VNS