Cellcos to sit 3G exam

27 Feb 2008

VietnamNet Bridge reports that the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in Vietnam is to hold an exam to select which networks are most capable of providing 3G services. All seven 2G licensees are eligible to enter. These are MobiFone, Vinaphone, Viettel Mobile, S-Fone, EVN Telecom, HT Mobile and non-operational newcomer GTel. The MIC has said it will grant just four licences. Incumbent Vietnam Post and Telecoms Group (VNPT), which runs Vinaphone and MobiFone, and military-owned Viettel, are both said to be worried about failing the exam through a simple mistake. An MIC spokesman said that the cellcos will be tested on around 200 standards, which it is currently defining. ‘This is the first exam for 3G so we have to learn experience from other countries to choose the best service providers. The MIC will [seek comments before compiling] the official examination contents. The Ministry will deliver exam documents in March 2008. Competitors will have two months to complete the exam documents. The Ministry will consider the exam documents in May and it will grant 3G licences in the second quarter,’ said the official. According to the MIC, winners will be granted 15MHz of frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum and 4MHz of time division duplex (TDD) spectrum. However, any winner that fails to launch 3G services (presumably by a set date) will be fined and risk having their frequencies withdrawn.