Cellcos invest to prevent network congestion

8 Feb 2007

Vietnam’s mobile phone operators are set to invest ‘hundreds of millions’ of US dollars between them to increase their network capacities ahead of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, when demand goes up dramatically. This year Tet occurs on 17 February. Mobifone, which ended 2006 with an estimated 4.65 million subscribers, has earmarked USD100 million for 2,000 new base transmitter stations (BTS) and six mobile transmitters which can be deployed where congestion is worst. A company spokesman said the network capacity would be increased to 11 million. Vinaphone, which has over five million customers, is spending a similar amount on installing 3,000 new BTS. Viettel, the military-owned market leader with over seven million subscribers at the end of 2006, has announced it will be deploying 200 new BTS and ten new switchboards. Neither S-Fone nor newcomer HT Mobile have made any official announcements, although company sources said that S-Fone would be making ‘necessary investments to take care of any troubles during Tet,’ and HT Mobile’s investment on network expansion ‘might reach USD50-100 million.’ Mobile service providers have decided to make heavy investements in the face of strong protests from clients regarding quality of service. Meanwhile the country’s fixed line providers have decided to launch promotions a fortnight before and a fortnight after Tet to encourage clients to use fixed phones rather than mobiles to ease pressure on the mobile networks.