Vietnamese government throws hat in the 6G development ring

Vietnamese government 6G development
Image by Vallera To | Bigstockphoto

With 5G expected to reach critical mass in Vietnam in 2023, the Vietnamese government will start to focus on development of 6G in 2022, says Information and Communications Minister Nguyen Manh Hung.

Hung told a conference in Ha Noi that Vietnam’s telecom industry should “be in the top group in terms of deploying 5G and developing 6G networks in the world.” 6G technology is currently being researched in several countries including the US, China, the EU, Japan, South Korea and India.

He said Vietnam will carry out 6G research this year alongside nationwide deployment of the 5G network as the government formed a steering committee for 6G research development, making Vietnam one of the world’s first ten countries to do so.

“Vietnam is to quickly develop its digital infrastructure and technologies with an objective to become one of the world’s leading nations in digitalisation with a vision for future development of the technology and meet the demand for skilled workers in the field,” said Hung.

There are still no technical standards or frequencies for 6G, although on a very general level, researchers envision 6G reaching speeds of 1 Tbps, laying the groundwork for a so-called “intelligent era” of AI and robots.

Despite this, the minister encouraged Vietnamese companies to research and manufacture 5G and 6G transmission and terminal equipment.

“Telecom networks must quickly transition to cloud-based and software-based architectures, so that the network becomes intelligent and flexible, and can be software-configured into numerous specialized sub-networks. Open RAN will be used as technology for 5G, 6G development,” Hung said.

The ministry also set a target of licensing 6G frequencies by 2028 before moving on to its commercial rollout.

5G mass penetration by 2023

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese government has licensed several 5G trials in 2020 and 2021. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Information and Communications announced that Vietnam is technically ready for the official commercialization of 5G services following successful pilots by Viettel, VNPT, and MobiFone in 16 cities and provinces.

Currently, 4G networks cover 99.8% of the nation, with the number of smartphone owners in the country increasing from 59.2% in 2018 to 75% in 2021. The Vietnamese government expects that from 2023, all Vietnamese people will own smartphones, making 5G commercialization “an inevitable reality”.

Hung also said that 5G and 6G will play key roles in the development of Vietnam’s digital infrastructure, which in itself is a top priority for the government. Vietnam envisions itself among the top 30 nations with the most innovative and robust digital infrastructure by 2025.

Hung added the digital economy will play a pivotal role in driving Vietnam’s digital transformation as a major socio-economic development strategy. The government expects the  digital economy to contribute 7% of GDP in 2025 and 7.5% by 2030, with 5G contributing $13.1 trillion and two million new jobs by 2035.

Vietnam’s National Digital Transformation Plan aims to build a digital society through increasing the number of digital enterprises from 58,000 to 100,000 by 2025, expanding broadband access to 80% of households by 2025, and promoting 4G/5G mobile phone networks and smartphones.

By 2022, the country will reduce the number of 2G subscribers from 24 million to 5-7 million, thereby freeing up more bandwidth for 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. Vietnam aims to phase out 2G/3G technologies after 2024.

“In order to realise these targets, the telecommunication sector must start now to get ahead of the competition to develop 6G technologies and hardware as well as to build the country’s 5G network,” Hung said.

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