Viettel’s Metfone tests 3G network

22 Jan 2010

Vietnamese military-owned telecoms operator Viettel, which operates in Cambodia under the Metfone banner, has begun testing its third-generation mobile network with a view to launching later this year, local daily Phnom Penh Post reports. According to Metfone’s managing director, Nguyen Duy Tho, the company hopes to install 1,500 3G base stations in the first quarter of 2010 and plans to eventually expand coverage to all districts. A further 3,000 2G cell sites and 13,000km of fibre-optic cable will also be rolled out during 1Q10. Without giving further details, Nguyen Duy Tho added that the company had met its Cambodia revenue target for 2009, although Vietnamese press have reported that Viettel generated turnover of USD70 million from its operations in Cambodia and Laos in 2009. This year Metfone aims to capture 40% of the mobile market, as well as 80% of the wireline and broadband internet sectors. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Metfone was established by Viettel in June 2007, after the company secured a GSM licence from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) in December 2006. Following investment of over USD100 million in the deployment of a 2G network, commercial services were launched in February 2009; by that date the company claimed it had garnered a subscriber base of 500,000 after just over three months of pilot operations.