Vietnam edges along path towards 3G

Vietnam’s fast-growing mobile telephony market has moved a stage closer to deploying 3G (third-generation) technology after awarding a large contract to China’s ZTE Corp. for a Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) 2000 1X network.

Vietnam Power Telecom, part of the country’s electricity supplier Electricity Vietnam (EVN), has contracted for a network to cover the southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City and 12 provinces in the nearby Mekong Delta area covering about 20 percent of the country’s land area. The amount of the contract was not revealed.

The network will compete against two established Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks operated by Vinaphone, a division of the former monopoly carrier Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Corp. (VNPT) and Mobifone, a 50:50 joint venture between VNPT and Sweden’s Comvik International Vietnam AB. There are currently about three million mobile phone users in the country, according to government figures.

CDMA 2001X offers a maximum data transmission speed of 144k bps (bits per second). From CDMA2000-1X, there is a clear migration path to 3G technology like CDMA2001x-EV-DO, which offers higher data of 2.3Mbps and CDMA2000 1X-EV-DV, which can offer 3.6Mbps speed.

ZTE has become China’s largest exporter of mobile telephony systems, with a focus on bringing high-speed services to developing markets. Earlier this month, ZTE announced the completion of the first 3G network in Tunisia and has also recently signed significant CDMA deals in Uzbekistan, Egypt, Russia, Mongolia and Indonesia.

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