2010 Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

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Last updated: 9 Jun 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 96

Analyst: Peter Evans

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Vietnam. Subjects covered include:

  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Regulatory Environment;
  • Major Players (fixed and mobile);
  • Infrastructure;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Market;
  • Internet, including VoIP;
  • Broadband services.

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- June 2010 (16th Edition)
Next publication date:- June 2011

Executive Summary

This Annual Publication profiles the vibrant telecom market in Vietnam that has been attracting considerable attention for its creativity. Whilst by some measures the country is still in a comparatively early stage of its telecommunications development, Vietnam has been aggressively expanding its national infrastructure and growing its subscriber bases across all market segments. Progress in developing the mobile market has been especially impressive; and whilst the Internet market, and particularly the roll-out of broadband Internet, is still very much in the early development phase, the last three years have seen a significant surge in the country’s online access.

Vietnam has become the target for an energetic new round of investor interest of late. Even in the wake of the global financial crisis numerous, foreign telcos were turning their attention to this most significant of South East Asian markets. The market is proving highly attractive to investors at the moment. It is generally agreed that the country has come out of a period of wishful thinking – based on the belief that it could ‘go it alone.’

The government has overseen the introduction of a modest level of competition into the telecoms market and this, combined with a generally improved economic climate within the country, has triggered a round of strong growth in the telecom sector. More recently the move to allow an increased level of ‘equitisation’ (the Vietnamese government’s word for ‘privatisation’) has sent a clear message to investors that the rules are changing in a positive way and the investment door has been opened.

A significant milestone in this changing business environment was Vietnam’s accession to the WTO in 2007; it could be said that this effectively provided a formal confirmation of the changes that had been taking place. It has still not become completely clear, however, what form the government’s involvement in the telecom sector will take in the future. Also of some concern are the constant postponements of real action on the equitisation process. A somewhat surprising development within Vietnam itself has been the cross-sector interest in telecoms.

While there has been strong growth in Vietnam’s mobile sector (around 120 million subscribers early in 2010, 135% penetration), the country’s fixed line subscriber growth has not been so impressive. With the government seeming to be hedging somewhat on the fixed-line statistics, this market segment has been struggling to a certain degree over the last few years. It seems that growth has now flattened out. In the meantime, the government continues to demonstrate a certain ambivalence about the Internet; government reticence has not, however, stopped the Internet market from at least starting to move along a solid growth path. Internet user penetration was running at an impressive 25% in early 2009, with the increasingly ‘hot’ broadband segment of that market expanding at an annual rate of around 50%.

Market highlights

  • Vietnam’s mobile market had reached the 120 million subscriber mark in early April 2010.
  • The country’s annual growth rate in mobile subscribers was running at around 50% in 2009 but appeared to be moderating into 2010.
  • Interest in broadband services in Vietnam was finally picking up and in a sustained fashion.
  • The 2009 year saw the country’s broadband Internet market extend a period of strong growth (around 50% annually) that had started in 2006.
  • Overall broadband penetration remained relatively low (4% of population), but all the signs were that this expansion of the broadband market would continue in the short to medium term, at least.
  • In an interesting pattern that differed from other markets, Vietnam has a fixed-line market that is growing vigorously, fixed subscriber numbers jumping by 35% in 2009.
  • Following on from the successful launch of its Vinasat-1 satellite in early 2008, Vietnam was already moving towards the country’s second venture into the satellite market, with VNPT having contracted Lockheed Martin for the 2012 launch of Vinasat-2.
  • Despite what at times seemed painfully slow progress on regulatory change, the reality is that change has happened and Vietnam’s telecom sector is now a vastly different market from what it was a decade ago.
  • The industry is still awaiting further progress on the ‘equitisation’ of Vietnam’s state-owned telecom operators.

Vietnam: - key telecom parameters – 2009 - 2010

Category

2009

2010 (e)

Fixed-line services:

 

 

  • Total number of subscribers

19.0 million

22.5 million

  • Annual growth (e)

35%

18%

  • Fixed-line penetration (population)

22%

25%

  • Fixed-line penetration (household)

70%

78%

Broadband Internet:

 

 

  • Total number of subscribers

2.97 million

4.20 million

  • Annual growth

44%

40%

  • Broadband penetration (population)

3.4%

4.7%

  • Broadband penetration (household)

15%

20%

Mobile services:

 

 

  • Total number of subscribers

111.4 million

127.0 million

  • Annual growth

46%

15%

  • Total 3G subscribers

5 million

10 million

  • 3G as percentage of total mobile

5%

8%

  • Mobile penetration (population)

130%

140%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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