2014 Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

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 and Analyses;
  • Regulatory Environment and Development;
  • Major Players - fixed and mobile;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Broadcasting and Digital Media;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Market;
  • Internet, including VoIP;
  • Broadband Services – fixed and mobile;
  • Scenario Forecasts - fixed-line subscribers, mobile subscribers, fixed broadband internet subscribers.

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- November 2014 (20th Edition)

Executive Summary

After a ‘correction’ in subscriber numbers in 2013, Vietnam’s mobile market moves forward.

Vietnam has for some years now 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, although there was been a substantial moderation in growth over the last few year; in fact the year 2013 saw the mobile market experience a correction, as the mobile numbers were revised downwards. In the meantime, the internet market, and particularly the roll-out of broadband internet, was still in a relatively early stage of development, there has been a significant rise in the country’s online access over the last decade. Most importantly, there has been a major push into mobile broadband.

It needs to be said that the broad market growth in Vietnam is happening amidst a confusing set of market statistics. As the country’s telecom sector was clearly expanding in a strong manner, the figures published both by the government and the operators were often contradictory and earlier figures were often revised. The government reported that there were 154 million mobile subscribers by end-2010, an increase of 40% for the year and representing an overall penetration of 174%. The total figure included 16.4 million fixed-line services by end-2010. Yet in September 2012, according to Vietnam’s General Statistics Office (GSO), the number of telephone subscribers nationwide was 135.9 million, which included 15 million fixed-line subscribers and almost 121 million mobile phone subscribers. The government has been casting the activity in the market as positive growth; yet there appeared to be a process in place for regularly revising the mobile subscriber statistics being published. The conflicting and missing numbers have made it difficult to obtain a considered view of the market. In this report, where there is any doubt about the statistics issued by the government/operators, what are considered the most likely figures are published in our tables of statistics.

In any event, as already noted, there is no doubt that Vietnam’s telecom sector has been through a period of particularly strong growth. It is reasonable to say that the country’s mobile market has been on a long run of growth and that even as the annual rate of mobile subscriber growth was falling to somewhere below 10% a year the market remained competitive and offered a good platform for further growth and development.

As with the mobile market, the government also seemed to have been hedging somewhat on reporting fixed-line statistics. It finally became clear, however, that this market segment has been seriously struggling and was in major decline. Whilst it may well have ‘flattened out’, there is no doubt that the fixed penetration halved in just four years, from 20% in 2009 to 10% in 2013. This is not to underestimate the value of the fixed-line infrastructure that has been put in place. The excellent national coverage already achieved is indeed impressive. As for the internet, the government continues to take a cautious position; government reticence has not, however, stopped the online market from moving along a solid growth path. Internet user penetration was estimated at 44% coming into 2014. The broadband segment growth has been particularly strong, although much more of the growth was in mobile wireless broadband rather than in fixed broadband.

Over the years Vietnam’s progress on regulatory reform in the telecom sector has moved along in an erratic fashion. Certainly good progress was made in the lead up to WTO accession, but many initiatives stalled subsequently. By 2014 the government was finally addressing the restructure of VNPT. After numerous false starts and a variety of proposals, it was finally agreed to hive off MobiFone from the state owned parent and sell shares via an IPO. Steps had already been taken that indicated the process was finally irreversible. The IPO was set for 2015.

The telecom market in Vietnam continues to attract investor interest, but there is a cautiousness now as the global industry senses that ‘the bubble has burst’ in Vietnam. Vimpelcom was one of the foreign telcos to depart, selling its shares in the Beeline operation to its local partner. A general process of rationalisation has clearly been taking place in the market.

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country Overview
      • 1.1.1 Background
      • 1.1.2 Economy
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Vietnam’s telecom market
      • 2.1.1 Mobile operators in a growth market
      • 2.1.2 Introduction of 3G
      • 2.1.3 ICT Development Index 2011
    • 2.2 Background to development
    • 2.3 Analysis: the government’s role
    • 2.4 Proposed Samsung investment
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Background
      • 3.1.1 Ministry of Posts and Telematics (MPT)
      • 3.1.2 Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)
    • 3.2 Management of subscriber registration
    • 3.3 Domestic fixed-line competition
    • 3.4 Monopoly behaviour and backbone fees
    • 3.5 Licences revoked
    • 3.6 Tariffs
    • 3.7 Foreign investment
      • 3.7.1 World Trade Organization (WTO) accession
    • 3.8 Liberalisation
    • 3.9 Privatisation of state-owned enterprises: ‘equitisation’ process
    • 3.10 Decree limiting shares in telecom companies
    • 3.11 Telecom licences and investment requirements
    • 3.12 Registration of prepaid mobile services
    • 3.13 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
  • 4. Fixed Network Operators
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Vietnam Post & Telecommunications (VNPT)
    • 4.3 Saigon Postel
    • 4.4 Viettel
    • 4.5 VP Telecom/EVN Telecom
    • 4.6 FPT Telecom
    • 4.7 GTel
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
      • 5.1.1 Overview
      • 5.1.2 Background to development
      • 5.1.3 Payphones
      • 5.1.4 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
      • 5.1.5 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • 5.2 National infrastructure projects and equitisation
      • 5.2.1 SK Telecom
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 Background to development
      • 5.3.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.3.3 Satellite networks
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
      • 6.1.1 Dial-up services
      • 6.1.2 Tablet market
    • 6.2 Broadband and internet statistics
    • 6.3 Background to internet development in Vietnam
    • 6.4 Information Technology (IT) focus areas
    • 6.5 Regulatory environment
      • 6.5.1 Background
      • 6.5.2 Government control
      • 6.5.3 Cyber Law
    • 6.6 Broadband technologies
      • 6.6.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
      • 6.6.2 Cable modem
      • 6.6.3 Fibre-based services
      • 6.6.4 Wireless broadband
      • 6.6.5 Satellite internet
  • 7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 7.1 Vietnam’s Broadcasting market
      • 7.1.1 Overview
      • 7.1.2 Pay TV
      • 7.1.3 Cable TV
      • 7.1.4 Satellite TV
      • 7.1.5 Mobile TV
      • 7.1.6 IPTV
      • 7.1.7 Film content censorship
    • 7.2 Content and e-services
      • 7.2.1 E-commerce
      • 7.2.2 E-Government
      • 7.2.3 E-education
      • 7.2.4 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview
    • 8.2 Background
    • 8.3 Mobile statistics
    • 8.4 Tariffs and revenue
    • 8.5 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 8.6 Market restructuring
      • 8.6.1 Market restructuring: the concept of ‘equitisation’
      • 8.6.2 Market restructuring: proposed merging of Mobifone and Vinaphone
      • 8.6.3 Market restructuring: the privatisation of MobiFone
    • 8.7 Mobile market developments
      • 8.7.1 m-Commerce
      • 8.7.2 Mobile handset market – 2011 / 2012
      • 8.7.3 SIM card fee
      • 8.7.4 SIM registration
      • 8.7.5 Controls on SIM cards
      • 8.7.6 Viettel’s takeover of EVN Telecom
      • 8.7.7 Handset manufacture
    • 8.8 Regulatory issues
      • 8.8.1 Off-net pricing
      • 8.8.2 Spectrum
      • 8.8.3 Allegations of price-fixing
      • 8.8.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.8.5 Sales promotion regulation
      • 8.8.6 Prepaid subscriber registration
      • 8.8.7 Handset importation
    • 8.9 Mobile technologies
      • 8.9.1 GSM and CDMA
      • 8.9.2 Third Generation (3G) services
      • 8.9.3 4G / Long Term Evolution (LTE)
    • 8.10 Mobile voice services
      • 8.10.1 Prepaid
      • 8.10.2 Registration of prepaid services
    • 8.11 Mobile data services
      • 8.11.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 8.11.2 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 8.11.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.11.4 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 8.11.5 International remittances
    • 8.12 Mobile applications
    • 8.13 Major mobile operators
      • 8.13.1 VNPT
      • 8.13.2 Mobifone
      • 8.13.3 Vinaphone
      • 8.13.4 S-Fone (S-Telecom)
      • 8.13.5 Viettel
      • 8.13.6 EVN Telecom
      • 8.13.7 Vietnamobile (formerly Hutchison Vietnam/HT Mobile)
      • 8.13.8 Gmobile (formerly Beeline)
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Forecasts – Fixed-line market – 2015; 2020
    • 9.2 Forecasts – Broadband Internet services – 2015; 2020
    • 9.3 Forecasts – Mobile services – 2015; 2020
    • Table 1 – Country statistics Vietnam – 2014
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2013
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
    • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2013
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2013
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
    • Table 7 – Vietnam’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2015
    • Table 2 – Fixed-line subscribers and market share by operator – 2011
    • Table 3 – VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration – 2000 – 2013
    • Table 4 – Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration – 1990 – 2014
    • Table 5 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2003 - 2014
    • Table 6 – Fixed broadband subscribers and household overview – 2013
    • Table 7 – Mobile-broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 8 – Internet users and penetration – 1998 - 2014
    • Table 9 – Fixed internet subscribers – 1998 - 2013
    • Table 10 – Households with internet access – 2005 - 2014
    • Table 11 – Total international internet bandwidth – 2003 - 2014
    • Table 12 – Fixed broadband DSL subscribers – 2003 - 2014
    • Table 13 – VNPT/VDC fixed broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2013
    • Table 14 – DSL subscribers and market share by provider – May 2014
    • Table 15 – FttH subscribers – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 16 – FttH subscribers and market share by provider – May 2014
    • Table 8 – Key broadcasting statistics – 2013
    • Table 17 – Mobile subscribers – 1995 - 2014
    • Table 18 – Total 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 19 – Mobile operators – networks and total subscribers – 2013
    • Table 20 – Mobile subscribers and market share by operator – 2013
    • Table 21 – Major mobile operators – market share by subscribers – May 2014
    • Table 22 – Mobile services revenue – 1993 - 2013
    • Table 23 – Mobile services sector estimated ARPU – 1998 - 2013
    • Table 24 – 3G mobile subscribers by operator – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 25 – Total 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 26 –VNPT subscribers – 1998 – 2013
    • Table 27 – Mobifone subscribers – 1998 - 2013
    • Table 28 – MobiFone: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 29 – Vinaphone subscribers – 1998 - 2014
    • Table 30 – VinaPhone: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 31 – Historical - S-Fone subscribers – 2003 - 2013
    • Table 32 – Viettel subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 33 – Viettel Vietnam: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 34 – Historical - EVN Telecom subscribers – 2006 - 2012
    • Table 35 – HT Mobile (CDMA) subscribers – 2006 - 2009
    • Table 36 – Vietnamobile (GSM) subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 37 – Hutchison Vietnam 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 38 – Gmobile (Beeline) subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 39 – Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates – 2015; 2020
    • Table 40 – Forecast fixed broadband internet subscribers and penetration rates – 2015; 2020
    • Table 41 – Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates – 2015; 2020
    • Chart 1 – Vietnam’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 – 2015
    • Chart 2 - Fixed-line market share by operator - 2011
    • Chart 3 – VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration – 2000 - 2013
    • Chart 4 - Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration - 2005 - 2014
    • Chart 5 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2014
    • Chart 6 – Internet users and penetration – 2005 - 2014
    • Chart 7 – Fixed broadband DSL subscribers – 2005 - 2014
    • Chart 8 – Mobile subscribers and annual change – 2005 - 2014
    • Chart 9 – Mobile market share by operator – 2013
    • Chart 10 – Mobile services revenue – 2000 - 2013
    • Chart 11 – VNPT subscribers – 2000 - 2013
    • Exhibit 1 – Overview of telecommunications development in Vietnam – 1993 - 2012

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