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Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

  • August 2015
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 94 pages

Vietnam moves to reduce government presence in telecoms

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. This background is important in understanding the manner in which the country’s telecom sector has been developing in 2015.

The government is finally addressing the restructure of the VNPT. After numerous false starts and a variety of proposals, it had 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 now irreversible. The IPO was set for 2016.

Vietnam’s mobile market is growing, but had slowed significantly into 2015; fixed-line subscriber numbers have declined sharply; and broadband is booming boosted by mobile broadband services and fibre-based fixed broadband. Much earlier, the government had set ambitious targets in the telecom sector for the expansion of infrastructure. But it fell well short of these targets. Things began to change, however, mainly on the back of an increasingly competitive mobile sector. Vietnam’s mobile market has grown strongly over the last decade in particular. This was evidence that the competition model the government had put in place, although limited, was in fact working. The mobile market stalled in 2013, suffering a major correction in that year. By 2015 growth had returned but was generally slower, as already noted.

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. The fixed broadband services have been largely based on DSL technology; more recently, fibre-based broadband services are starting to replace DSL as the fixed broadband option, with FttH subscriptions growing by more than 150% in 2014. Most significantly, the arrival of mobile broadband has seen much wider access to faster internet speeds. The penetration of mobile broadband services was more than four times that of fixed broadband by 2015. An important aspect of the internet market is that the government has been particularly active in the development of cyber laws, no doubt because of its deeply ingrained political culture of central control.

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 around 5%.

It needs to be said that the broad telecom market growth in Vietnam is happening amidst a sometimes confusing set of statistics. The figures published both by the government, the operators and other industry sources are often contradictory and earlier figures are often revised. In this report, where there is any doubt about the statistics issued, BuddeComm publishes in its tables what are considered the most likely figures or provides estimates.

Key developments:

broadband market growing strongly, on back of vigorous mobile broadband sector;
annual growth in fixed broadband subscribers at 16% in 2014 and similarly into 2015
mobile market had reached 150% penetration milestone coming into 2015;
overall growth in mobile subscribers has slowed;
Vietnam’s second satellite, Vinasat-2, has been launched;
MobiFone, separated from VNPT, preparing for an IPO, possibly in 2016;
MIC revoked the operator licence of struggling S-Fone;
MIC authorised operators to launch trial 4G/LTE networks;
MIC preparing for 4G, with licensing expected in 2016;
FttP broadband subscribers were growing at an annual rate of 100%+ into 2015;
DSL technology was still supporting the majority of fixed broadband services;
Viettel a clear leader in the fibre market with 55% share of the subscriber base;
MIC set 2017 as target date for introducing Mobile Number Portability (MNP);
Despite effective 3G network rollout nationwide, subscriber numbers lower than expected;
Viettel was continuing to expand its overseas ventures, with ambitious plans announced;
government continues tight control of internet, with sudden clamp downs from time to time;
mobile operator Vinaphone introduced an ‘e-medicine service’ for customers;
a schedule had been put in place for the digitalisation of TV broadcasting in Vietnam;
DVB-T2 terrestrial digital TV standard selected by regulator;
government was to subsidise poor households in purchasing terrestrial digital TV receivers.

Companies mentioned in this report:

VNPT; Vinaphone; Mobifone; Viettel; S-Fone; EVN Telecom; Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); GMobile/GTel; Vietnam Datacommunications Company (VDC); FPT Telecom; SaiGonNet; NetNam; Vietnam Television Technology Investment and Development Company (VTC); FPT Telecom; Vietnamobile (Hanoi Telecom); Gmobile (formerly Beeline); Facebook; Google; Vietnam Cable TV (VCTV); SCTV; K+; Alibaba, EBay; BTS-Hanoi; HTVC-HCM City; VTC; Qualcomm; Red River Delta; CMC; DN khac.

Table Of Contents

Vietnam - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
1. Key statistics
1.1 Country overview
1.1.1 Background
1.1.2 Economy
1.1.3 World Trade Organization (WTO)
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Recent developments
2.2 Historical Overview
2.3 Market analysis
2.3.1 Mobile operators
2.3.2 Foreign investment
2.3.3 The government's role
3. Regulatory environment
3.1 Historical overview
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.2.1 Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC)
3.2.2 Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority (VNTA)
3.3 Government policies
3.3.1 Liberalisation
3.3.2 Privatisation of state-owned enterprises: VNPT
3.3.3 Decree limiting shares in telecom companies
3.4 Telecom licences
3.5 Number Portability (NP)
4. Competition Issues
5. Fixed Network operators
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT)
5.2.1 Overview
5.2.2 Statistics
5.3 Viettel
5.4 FPT Telecom
5.5 GTel
5.6 Former operators
5.6.1 VP Telecom/EVN Telecom
5.6.2 Saigon Postel
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Overview
6.1.2 Statistics
6.1.3 Forecasts fixed-line subscribers 2015; 2017; 2020
6.2 New developments
6.2.1 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
6.2.2 Proposed Samsung investment
6.3 International infrastructure
6.3.1 Background to development
6.3.2 Submarine cable networks
6.3.3 Satellite networks
6.4 Specific IT developments
6.4.1 Cloud services
7. Broadband market
7.1 Market Analysis
7.2 Statistics
7.3 Regulatory
7.3.1 Introduction
7.3.2 Government control
7.3.3 Vietnam Internet Network Information Center (VNNIC)
7.3.4 Vietnam National Internet eXchange (VNIX)
7.3.5 IPv6 v. IPv4
7.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.4.1 Introduction
7.4.2 Service providers
7.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
7.5.1 Introduction
7.5.2 Service providers
7.6 Other fixed broadband services
7.6.1 Fixed wireless broadband
7.6.2 WiFi
7.6.3 WiMAX
7.6.4 Cable modem
7.6.5 Satellite internet
7.7 Mobile broadband
7.8 Competition Issues
8. Digital media
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Digitalisation
8.3 Pay TV
8.4 Advertising
8.5 Videostreaming
8.6 Social Media
8.6.1 Introduction
8.7 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
8.7.1 Background
9. Digital economy
9.1 Introduction
9.1.1 E-Commerce Development Master Plan 2011- 2015
9.2 E-Commerce
9.2.1 Overview
9.3 E-Government
9.3.1 Overview
9.4 E-Health
9.4.1 E-Medicine
9.5 E-Education
9.5.1 E-Learning
9.6 Technology parks/focus areas
10. Mobile Communications
10.1 Market Analysis
10.2 Mobile Statistics
10.2.1 General statistics
10.2.2 Forecasts mobile services 2015; 2017; 2020
10.2.3 Mobile Data
10.2.4 Mobile Broadband Statistics
10.3 Regulatory Issues
10.3.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.4 Mobile infrastructure
10.4.1 Digital networks
10.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
10.5 Major Mobile Operators
10.5.1 Operators
10.5.2 VNPT
10.5.3 MobiFone
10.5.4 Vinaphone
10.5.5 Viettel
10.5.6 Vietnamobile (formerly Hutchison Vietnam/HT Mobile)
10.5.7 Gmobile (formerly Beeline)
10.5.8 Former operators
10.5.9 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
10.6 Mobile Content and Applications
10.6.1 M-Commerce
10.6.2 M-Banking
10.6.3 Mobile Apps
10.6.4 Other m-content
10.7 Mobile Handsets
Table 1 Country statistics Vietnam 2015
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2014
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2014
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2014
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014
Table 6 National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 Vietnam's GDP real growth rate 2006 - 2016
Table 8 Historical - Fixed-line subscribers and market share by operator 2011
Table 9 Historical - VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration 2000 2005
Table 10 VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration 2006 2015
Table 11 Historical - Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration 1990 2004
Table 12 Fixed line subscribers, annual change and penetration 2005 2015
Table 13 Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rates 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 14 Total international internet bandwidth 2003 - 2015
Table 15 Fixed broadband subscribers 2003 - 2015
Table 16 Fixed broadband subscribers and household overview 2014
Table 17 Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2015
Table 18 Historical - Internet users and penetration 1998 - 2005
Table 19 Internet users and penetration 2006 - 2015
Table 20 Historical - Fixed internet subscribers 1998 - 2008
Table 21 Estimated fixed internet subscribers 2009 - 2014
Table 22 Households with internet access 2005 - 2015
Table 23 Total international internet bandwidth 2003 - 2015
Table 24 Key internet statistics November 2014
Table 25 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rates 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 26 Fixed broadband DSL subscribers 2003 - 2014
Table 27 DSL subscribers and market share by provider May 2014
Table 28 Historical - VNPT/VDC DSL subscribers 2005 - 2007
Table 29 VNPT/VDC fixed broadband subscribers 2008 - 2014
Table 30 VNPT fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 2015
Table 31 Viettel's DSL subscribers 2007; 2014
Table 32 FttH subscribers 2008 - 2015
Table 33 FttH subscribers and market share by provider 2014
Table 34 Viettel's FttX subscribers 2014
Table 35 Key broadcasting statistics 2014
Table 36 VTV's TV broadcasting units subscribers - 2013
Table 37 Market share of online advertising revenue by enterprise - 2014
Table 38 Facebook users and penetration 2012; 2015
Table 39 Internet users and penetration 2006 - 2015
Table 40 Internet users by age 2014
Table 41 Vietnam B2C e-commerce sales indicators 2013; 2015
Table 42 E-commerce sales popularity of product categories 2013
Table 43 Top 10 most popular websites for online shopping 2013
Table 44 Historical - mobile subscribers 1995 - 2005
Table 45 Mobile subscribers 2006 - 2015
Table 46 Mobile subscribers 2011 - 2015
Table 47 Total 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 48 Mobile broadband subscribers 2010 - 2015
Table 49 Mobile operators networks and total subscribers 2013
Table 50 Mobile operators networks and total subscribers 2014
Table 51 Mobile subscribers and market share by operator 2013
Table 52 Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - 2014
Table 53 Top three mobile operators market share by subscribers 2014
Table 54 Mobile services revenue 1993 - 2014
Table 55 Mobile services sector estimated ARPU 1998 - 2014
Table 56 Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration rates 2015; 2017; 2020
Table 57 Total international internet bandwidth 2003 - 2015
Table 58 Total 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 59 Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2015
Table 60 3G mobile subscribers by operator March 2012
Table 61 3G mobile subscribers by operator 2014
Table 62 Total 3G mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 63 Historical - VNPT subscribers 1998 2014
Table 64 MobiFone subscribers 1998 - 2014
Table 65 MobiFone's 3G subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 66 Vinaphone subscribers 1998 - 2014
Table 67 Vinaphone: 3G subscribers 2010 - 2014
Table 68 Viettel subscribers 2004 - 2014
Table 69 Viettel's 3G subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 70 Historical - HT Mobile (CDMA) subscribers 2006 - 2009
Table 71 Vietnamobile (GSM) subscribers 2009 - 2014
Table 72 Vietnamobile's 3G subscribers 2012 - 2014
Table 73 Gmobile (Beeline) subscribers 2009 - 2014
Table 74 Historical - S-Fone subscribers 2003 - 2013
Table 75 Historical - EVN Telecom subscribers 2006 - 2012
Chart 1 - Vietnam's GDP real growth rate - 2006 2016
Chart 2 Historical - Fixed-line market share by operator - 2011
Chart 3 - VNPT fixed-line subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2015
Chart 4 - Fixed line subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2015
Chart 5 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Chart 6 Internet users and penetration 2006 - 2015
Chart 7 Fixed broadband DSL subscribers 2005 - 2014
Chart 8 Mobile subscribers and annual change 2005 - 2015
Chart 9 Mobile market share by operator 2014
Chart 10 Mobile services revenue 2000 - 2014
Chart 11 VNPT subscribers 2005 - 2014
Exhibit 1 Vietnam - ICT Development Index
Exhibit 2 MIC's assigned policy and regulatory responsibilities
Exhibit 3 Vietnam's Cyber Law legislative instruments

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