On August 31, 2008, Hanoi Telecom signed a contract worth more than US$700 million to buy equipment from Ericsson and Huawei for a new GSM mobile phone network to replace its CDMA network named HT Mobile. Hanoi Telecom’s partner, Hutchison, is pouring money into the new eGSM network.
Chairman of the Hanoi Telecom Board of Directors, Pham Ngoc Lang, said: “Hanoi Telecom and Hutchison are determined to invest over $700 million in the eGSM network. With this huge investment, we aim to better serve clients. Thousands of engineers and workers and over 300 foreign experts are working hard to build this network. We plan to inaugurate the new network in the first quarter of 2009. Our goal is offering the best-quality telecom service in Vietnam.”
Lang said they are working feverishly to have 5,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) by June 2009. But he thinks that in the current situation, this job will not be finished prior to September. Experts say that with 5,000 BTS, Hanoi Telecom can supply mobile services of good quality.
However, can Vietnam Mobile get a firm foothold in the domestic market?
The challenge is big for this network because at this moment, around 60% of the population use mobile services. 2009 will be a year that mobile networks will race to attract the remaining low-income clients. Therefore, competition to slash charges will continue in 2009, experts forecast.
Some sources say that GTel Mobile has already chosen the providers of network equipment. It is said that they are also Ericsson and Huawei.
Compared to Vietnam Mobile, GTel Mobile faces more challenges in terms of technology and market. Because of the global economic slowdown, Russia will have to strictly control its outflow of foreign currencies. Vimplecom, the Russian partner in GTel Mobile, will have to overcome this to be able to invest in Vietnam.
It has also been doubted that GTel Mobile will be able to get underway in 2009, as no mobile network in Vietnam has yet been able to complete network construction and launch services within one year.
Analysts say Viettel and MobiFone will still control the mobile information market in 2009.