According to local news source VietNamNet Bridge, Chinese equipment supplier Huawei will provide Vietnamese telco EVN Telecom with infrastructure to build its third generation mobile network. EVN’s director, Pham Duong Minh, announced at the signing ceremony of the contract that the company plans to launch commercial 3G services on 30 April 2010. It is currently working on the first phase of network rollout, which involves the deployment of 2,500 base transceiver stations (BTS) covering 46% of the population. EVN received its licence to provide 3G services in partnership with fellow Vietnamese mobile operator Hanoi Telecom (Vietnamobile) in April 2009. The consortium plans to spend VND6 trillion (USD351.6 million) over the next three years on the construction of 5,000 BTS to provide 3G services to 50% of the population.
In a separate story, mobile operators Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone have each requested a new eleven-digit number series from the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC), Dow Jones Newswires reports citing VnExpress. The report states that 21 series of mobile numbers in use, equivalent to 168 million subscribers, could be used up by the country’s seven operational cellcos in the next two to three months. According to figures from the MIC, wireless customers account for around 87% of Vietnam’s nearly 100 million phone subscribers, although an estimated 50 million mobile numbers are said to be inactive.