Vietnam is one of Asia's fastest growing economies, making solid progress in reducing the number of people living below the poverty line. While urban areas have benefited most from the expanding economy, many rural parts of the country remain poor.
Rapid progress has also been made in the telecommunications sector. Mobile phone usage is widespread and increasing, which is encouraging. Still, internet and mobile penetration in rural areas remains limited. This is partly due to a lack of infrastructure and low literacy levels but also, significantly, to the limited understanding at some levels of the benefits of being connected to the internet.
At the forefront of the revolution
When VinaPhone decided to invest in a 3G mobile broadband network in 2009, the company was set a tough deadline: the network had to go live that October. The operator signed a contract with Ericsson in late August 2009 to design, deliver and roll out a 3G mobile broadband network in the heavily populated south of the country, with just six weeks to complete the task. And together they did it, setting what was almost certainly an industry record.
All eyes are now on VinaPhone, thanks to its revolutionary 3G service.
A new user experience
Mobile broadband will accelerate economic development, changing the lives of many rural people as a result. Mobile communication can help streamline trade and commerce, create a virtual marketplace, provide access to education and healthcare, relay news, coordinate emergency services, and facilitate everyday government administration.
The internet, along with the applications and services it has spawned, has had a revolutionary effect on the way people interact and conduct business.
The Vietnam Government's issue of 3G licenses to operators in 2009 is in line with its plans for a new and innovative digital economy.
Thanks to VinaPhone's vision of widely available 3G, Vietnam will now be able to provide mobile broadband access to all of its citizens in a cost-effective way, reducing the digital divide between members of the population.
In urban areas, new VinaPhone services, such as real-time road traffic information, will help reduce congestion and make travel more efficient. In addition, faster network speeds will enable users to enjoy a wide range of services, such as streaming TV and other multimedia services.
Working together builds success
Ericsson was chosen across both the MSS Core and 3G network domains to ensure a successful end-to-end 3G launch.
Its partnership with VinaPhone goes beyond the traditional operator-vendor relationship. A joint project management model was developed, with both companies aligning their team structures and management activities, and adopting one common approach. Weekly management meetings ensured that the necessary high-level cross-company "Steering Group" mechanism was in place.
One key success factor for the project was Ericsson's strong presence in Vietnam; this meant that the right technical and business experts could be sourced in a timely manner. Having a strong local workforce meant that Ericsson could react quickly to VinaPhone's network transformation needs and aggressive rollout schedule. This in turn has helped VinaPhone efficiently meet the needs of its business customers and consumers.
A team of Ericsson solution architects worked on systems integration at VinaPhone, and daily contact between the network deployment engineers ensured a smooth rollout.
This collaborative approach – together with its flexible ways of working internally – enabled Ericsson to roll out the 3G network service in record time.
The relationship is also one of equal engagement, with network improvements, design, integration and training being taken into consideration by both parties. The companies' long-term vision is for a roadmap that includes service and network evolution consultancies and training.
The specific solutions and services provided by Ericsson include 3G radio portfolio, MSS, network rollout, network design, and network integration and training.
Increasing revenues while cutting costs
VinaPhone's network rollout has created growth driven by a mix of additional rural subscribers (many getting mobile connectivity for the first time as networks expand beyond major urban areas) and an increase in 3G-stimulated data usage and higher-end services.
Since the network's launch, there has been a dramatic improvement in VinaPhone's subscriber base and revenues. The operator's revenue target was exceeded by 10 percent in 2009, and the aim is to secure an additional 30 percent increase during 2010.
Ericsson's energy-efficient solutions and services are not only helping VinaPhone reduce its operational expenditure and save costs, but are also reducing its long-term environmental impact.
Customer: VinaPhone, Vietnam
- Launch of 3G services ahead of competition
- Increase revenues and profit
- Improve competitive position
- Establish strategic partnership
- Rollout of MSS core and 3G Radio network
- Ericsson Services, such as training, support and network design
- Create a Strategic Alliance Partnership
- First operator to roll out 3G network
- Reduced operational costs and increased revenue
- Improved staff skills and knowledge
- End-to-end business partner