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Vietnam will start testing 5G networks in January 2019. Four telecom companies - Vietnamobile, a joint venture of Hanoi Telecom and Hongkong based Hutchison Asia Telecommunications, and three state-owned entities, Viettel, Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group, MobiFone are expected to receive 5G testing licenses in January.

Starting from the capital, Hanoi, the country aims to upgrade its mobile network along with the southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

“Vietnam should be among the first nations to launch 5G services in order to move up in global telecom rankings,” said Nguyen Manh Hung, the country’s minister of Information and Communications.

Hung, previously the chairman and general director of Viettel Group, wants to reacquire Vietnam’s rank among the top countries worldwide in terms of major exporter of 5G gear through boosting the development of local equipment. He also plans to make the licensing and approval process easier for Vietnam’s IT sector.

Several partnerships have been made in order to facilitate the procedures: VNPT has teamed up with Nokia on 5G, while MobiFone signed an agreement with Samsung Electronics to cooperate on 4G and 5G networks earlier this year.

In 2017, Ericsson held the first 5G demonstration in the country in partnership with the Vietnam Authority of Radio Frequency Management.

While MobiFone and VNPT are on the list of state-owned companies slated for privatization by 2020, Viettel is to remain in government hands.

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