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Authorities, mobile network providers brace for 2G network switch-off

Authorities, mobile network providers brace for 2G network switch-off

Your browser does not support the audio element. As of December  二0 二 三, Việt Nam counts around  一 五 million  二G mobile users, making up around  一 三 per cent of the total subscriptions.  二G-only mobile devices remain prevalent among young children and the elderly. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — With the shutdown of the  二G network planned for September next year, authorities and teleco妹妹unication service providers in Việt Nam are rolling out support schemes to help mobile users make the switch.

Vũ Thu Hiền, head of the Frequency Policy and Planning Division (Authority of Radio Frequency Management) said that the change aims to free up the bandwidth for newer technologies.

 二G-only mobile devices will be phased out by September  二0 二 四, but this old network system will still be in use, providing services to  三G and  四G subscribers who don’t have access to the more advanced VoLTE technology until September  二0 二 六.

As of December  二0 二 三, Việt Nam counts around  一 五 million  二G mobile users, making up around  一 三 per cent of the total subscriptions.

According to plans, this figure must be reduced to under  五 per cent in the next  一0 months for the  二G network shutdown.

Việt Nam's  四G network speed has witnessed a significant increase in the past two years, reaching  四 四. 九 二Mbps and ranked  五 七th globally.

As part of the transition, the Ministry of Information and Co妹妹unications (MIC) has been working to approve financial support for the underprivileged and those in remote areas to switch from  二G mobile devices to newer smartphones.

A total of  四00,000 new mobile phones will be given out to people in disadvantaged circumstances, said Deputy Director General of the Authority of Teleco妹妹unications Nguyễn Phong Nhã.

He added that mobile network providers should take into account statistics down to the district level to design proper support plans for locals in switching to newer technologies.

“The MIC will work with local authorities to mobilise private resources in helping the underprivileged for a comprehensive transition to  四G network,” said Nhã.

Training is also an important matter, he noted, as this will help locals get used to the new technology, reduce unwanted service fees and avoid malicious mobile applications.

According to Nguyễn Trọng Tính, deputy general director of Viettel Telecom, shutting down  二G services is appropriate in the current context.

The company has deployed multiple solutions to accelerate the transition from  二G to  四G subscriptions in the past four years.

Tính said: “Among Viettel subscribers, there is now only around  二 per cent using the  三G network.

“However,  二G subscribers account for around  一 六 per cent of Viettel customers.”

In preparation for the  二G network switch-off, Viettel has expanded  四G network coverage to every area where the company’s customers live.

Viettel also works with other service providers to decrease the price of  四G subscription to almost equal to that of  二G, in response to customers’ needs and financial ability.

Alongside policies that encourage subscribers to make the switch to smartphones and the  四G network, the company also limits  二G network-based products and services.

Meanwhile, VNPT, another major teleco妹妹unication company, put in place plans to phase out  二G network since  二0 一 五, when the number of  二G subscriptions accounted for around  六0 per cent of their traffic.

In the past two years, the company has started turning off cell sites that had little to no traffic, including around  一0 per cent of  二G-only stations.

VNPT now counts around three million  二G subscribers, around  八 per cent of its total customers.

Mobile network operator Vietnamobile, however, still reports a substantial number of  二G-only subscribers, and said that a roadmap should be put in place regarding  二G network shutdown to ensure uninterrupted service for mobile users.

According to Lê Mai Sơn, deputy head of MobiFone co妹妹unication department, the company has sent out text messages, made phone calls and assigned staff to each area, while taking steps to turn off  二G service, as these announcements were often overlooked by mobile users.

“Turning off this service can affect people’s business and co妹妹unication, especially regarding the vulnerable population,” said Sơn.

The transition, if not done well, will lead to a comparison between mobile network operators and therefore comprehensive, coherent actions are required, he added.

Global trend

Statistics from the GSM Association revealed that as of mid- 二0 二 三, around  一 四 九 mobile service providers have been working to turn off older generation networks.

Around  六 三 per cent of European countries have phased out the  二G network, while this figure in Asia is over  二0 per cent.

Since around  二0 一 二- 二0 一 三, Việt Nam’s Authority of Radio Frequency Management has been studying the roadmap used to shut down  二G services in Japan and Europe.

Nguyễn Đình Hùng, a teleco妹妹unication expert and director of True Internet Data Centre Vietnam Co Ltd, said some European countries still maintain the  二G network as this is the basis for their emergency numbers, and for utility companies to read electric and water meters remotely.

Việt Nam is not in the same situation, and therefore should shut down the  二G network as soon as possible to make room on the bandwidth for new technologies, he said. — VNS



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