Any review of the telecoms market in Vietnam must take into account the nature and structure of the government. Whilst nominally a communist state and therefore a centrally planned economy, it has undergone significant structural change over the years. After revising its attitude to the market economy and the role of the private sector, the government has progressively introduced some competition into the market place, building what it describes as ‘a socialist oriented market economy.’ There is no doubt that this change of policy and outlook resulted in a fresh growth momentum within the nation. Nevertheless it remains a one-party system, moving slowing in the implementing of social and economic reform and simply avoiding some reforms altogether.
The government set ambitious targets early on in the telecom sector, especially for the expansion of infrastructure. But initially it fell well short of these targets. This began to change, however, mainly on the back of an increasingly competitive mobile sector. After a period of strong growth over the last decade, the mobile market stalled in 2013 and suffered a major correction in that year. By 2015 growth had returned but was generally slower.
In the meantime, having come late to the internet, Vietnam is finally embracing the higher access speeds offered by the various broadband platforms. Although there has been a surge in subscriber numbers, fixed broadband remains a relatively small but expanding market segment. Most significantly, the arrival of mobile broadband has seen widespread access to faster internet speeds.
The significant presence of fixed-line services throughout the country had been against the global trend for a developing economy (a high point of 20% penetration in 2009); however, fixed-line numbers have declined dramatically in recent years and by 2015 penetration had fallen to slightly more than 5%.
This report presents an overview of Vietnam’s telecom market, providing information on telecom infrastructure, operators and the regulatory environment. It includes a set of the most currently available key statistics. There is also some analysis of aspects of the country’s telecoms sector.
- Vietnam’s broadband market is growing strongly, on the back of the mobile broadband sector;
- the mobile market had reached 147% penetration milestone coming into 2016;
- the fixed-line market continues to be in decline, having dropped by 70% from its 2009 peak;
- Vietnam’s second satellite, Vinasat-2, has been launched;
- MobiFone, having been hived off from VNPT, by 2015 was being prepared for an IPO;
- A revamped VNPT-Vinaphone operation was formally launched in August 2015;
- in 2015 the MIC was preparing for 4G, but the licensing process was not expected until 2016;
- fibre-based broadband subscribers were growing at an annual rate of 100%+ into 2015;
- Samsung became the largest foreign investor in Viet Nam when it launched its project for a US$3 billion telephone handset manufacturing and assembling plant;
- the MIC has set 2017 as the target date for introducing Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
- in 2015 Vietnam’s FPT became the first 100% foreign-owned company to secure a fixed-line services licence in Myanmar.
Companies mentioned in this report:
VNPT; Vinaphone; Mobifone; Viettel; S-Fone; EVN Telecom; Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); GMobile/GTel.