Vietnam aims to support its citizens with 4G devices to make the country among those with 100 percent smartphone penetration, the information minister says.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said Saturday Vietnam’s decision to shut down its 2G network in 2022 is a strong message that the burdens of the past must be removed in order to move forward quickly; and that after 30 years, the 2G network has completed its mission.
“The shutting down of the 2G network and supporting people with 4G will help make Vietnam one of the few countries with 100 percent of phones being smartphones, and ready to become e-citizens,” Hung noted at a conference of his ministry.
“We can only change Vietnam’s ranking if we keep pace with the world’s leading group,” he emphasized, adding that the country has made progress in enabling network operators to pilot Mobile Money, completing the postal code system, enhancing and ensuring cybersecurity, putting into operation a cyber security and safety surveillance system for e-government and declaring legal violations by foreign social networks.
Vietnam’s trial of a 5G network in 2019 and its commercialization in 2020 is also a statement that from now on, Vietnam would keep pace with the world in terms of technology instead of being 7-8 years behind as was the case with the introduction of 3G and 4G technologies. 2020 would be the year of national digitization, kick-starting the transformation toward a digital Vietnam, the minister added.
Speaking at the conference, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc noted the country’s initial success in deploying a 5G network using domestic devices, and asserted that Vietnam must not be slower than the world in developing 5G as well as other new technology applications.
The PM also voiced agreement with the ministry’s plan to shut down the 2G network in order to speed up the telecom infrastructure’s conversion to new technologies. He however stressed the need to acknowledge that Vietnam’s telecom network is still slow in its conversion to digital infrastructure.
Although Vietnam was a “country with 70 percent (of the population) having access to the Internet, 80 percent using smartphones, the efficiency is still low, from applications to tracing the origins of goods to making electronic payments in commerce,” he said.
The ministry needs to consult with concerned agencies on better policies and methods for digitization, Phuc stated.
The PM also stressed that the development of digital citizens should not happen at the cost of cultural regression. To emphasize what he meant, Phuc cited the example of all members intently perusing their mobile phones during a family meal.