S-Fone gets trio of vendors on board to boost subscribers

14 Jul 2010

Vietnamese telecoms operator Saigon Post and Telecommunications (Saigon Postel, SPT) – which in April 2010 became the major shareholder in its S-Fone wireless joint venture with South Korea’s SK Telecom (SKT) – has announced the signing of memorandums of understanding (MoU) with a trio of foreign partners. According to a report by VietNamNet Bridge, South Korea’s Samsung and Chinese vendors ZTE and Huawei will assist S-Fone in the fields of technology and equipment, expansion of the cellco’s CDMA network, application of 3G services, marketing and training, and the development of voice services. It is hoped the agreements will encourage the growth of S-Fone, which is struggling to gain a foothold in the highly crowded Vietnamese mobile market. S-Fone currently has a reported eight million customers on its network, though only four million are thought to be active.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, S-Fone transformed from a business cooperation contract (BCC) model into a joint venture in April 2010, after SKT decided to end its investment in the cellco. The South Korean company now holds only a minority stake in S-Fone, while Saigon Postel acquired a controlling stake and along with it the right to make all investment, business and operation decisions. At the time of the transformation, S-Fone said it would change its business strategies and expand coverage to attract more customers.