Russian company Antares has reached an agreement with Vietnam Data Communications (VDC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vietnamese state-owned PTO Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT), to build a trial Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Vietnam, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reports. Antares is owned by British Virgin Island-registered Wagner Asset Management, which plans to invest a total of USD2 million in the 4G network. Meanwhile, local partner VDC will obtain the relevant licence, as well as take responsibility for the network equipment, which will reportedly be supplied by China’s Huawei. CEO of Antares, Andrey Glukhov, said testing of 15 LTE base transceiver stations (BTSs) will begin in Hanoi on 20 October, and will run for a period of two to three months. Under the next phase, the Russian firm will invest USD27 million in the establishment of a joint venture controlled by Wagner. Although under Vietnamese law foreign firms are, at present, restricted to owning no more than 49% of a local company, Glukhov said his company ‘is sure it will be able to resolve the issue.’ In total, Glukhov estimates that the LTE network will require a total investment of USD400 million.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, FPT Telecom is the only firm permitted to trial LTE technology, having been awarded a licence to do so in August 2010. At the same date the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) was also reportedly considering licensing VNPT and Viettel to test LTE.