As competition presents more challenging market conditions, Vietnam’s mobile operators are steadily building their subscriber bases. Into 2016 the once ‘hot’ Vietnam mobile market had cooled somewhat and the rate of subscriber growth had eased considerably. The exact disposition of the market was not totally clear as the authorities and other sources issued a range of conflicting statistics. In early 2016, based on the best data, the reported number of mobile subscribers had passed 137 million.
Vietnam’s mobile market has grown strongly over the last decade, evidence that the competition model the government has put in place, although with some limitations, has been working. At the same time, demand for new mobile services appeared to have dropped and growth had generally slowed. There has been a gradual shift to value added services, with the arrival of 3G and 3G+ and ahead of the launch of 4G.
The highly competitive nature of Vietnam’s mobile segment is due in no small part to it being opened up to new players, importantly including some with no involvement of the state-owned VNPT. With the operators very keen to remain competitive and at least maintain market share, the overcrowded market will inevitably rationalise; that process has begun with the takeover of EVN Telecom by Viettel and the cancellation of S-Fone’s telco licence. As with most other Asian mobile markets, growth in Vietnam was boosted by the early introduction of prepaid mobile services and prepaid remains a vital component of the business today.
In this report we provide an overview of the country’s mobile market and the major operators; the report also includes a range of relevant statistics plus scenario forecasts for mobile subscriber growth.
- Vietnam’s mobile market is still growing, but at a more modest rate than a few years back;
- although the 3G network rollout had been successfully implemented, subscriber numbers were substantially lower than expected;
- the regulator had authorised operators to launch trial 4G/LTE networks and that was happening;
- the MIC was preparing to licence 4G/LTE services in 2016 with operators expecting to launch 4G in early 2017;
- MobiFone had been hived off from VNPT and was operating independently;
- Vinaphone has been relaunched as a fresh subsidiary of VNPT and was taking an aggressive position in the market;
- the MIC had revoked the licences of service providers for failure to roll out networks in time;
- Viettel was continuing to expand its overseas ventures, with some ambitious plans announced.
Companies mentioned in this report:
VNPT; Vinaphone; Mobifone; Viettel; S-Fone; EVN Telecom (acquired by Viettel); Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); Gmobile (formerly Beeline).