Vietnam has eight million 3G subscribers
Viettel, VinaPhone, MobiFone, and EVN Telecom-Hanoi Telecom Joint Venture are seeking approval from the Ministry of Information and Communications for the withdrawal. They complained that they are facing difficulties in mobilising capital to fuel their projects.
According to these providers, investment in 3G services have surpassed their commitments.
After an 18-month development period, the mobile providers have developed eight million 3G subscribers across the country, with network coverage reaching 93.68 per cent.
The firms have built 30,334 BTS stations for 3G services nationwide.
MobileFone said it has invested VND3 trillion ($145.13 million) in the development of 3G services. The funding has helped install 5,400 BTS stations.
Seeking approval for the deposit withdrawal, a MobileFone spokesperson said, “Amid increasing financial difficulties, the deposit is of great significance.”
A Viettel official explained the firm had to take bank loans to cover 80 per cent of the investment in its 3G service. It was also waiting for its deposit.
According to Trinh Minh Chau from EVN Telecom- Hanoi Telecom Joint Venture, the ministry should allow firms that have just completed 70-80 per cent of their commitments to withdraw 70-80% of their deposits.
Minister of Information and Communications Le Doan Hop urged the Department of Planning to speed up disbursement for 3G service projects.
Under contracts signed by the four mobile providers, in the first three years of their implementation, they have to invest a combined VND33.825 trillion ($1.63 billion) in 3G services, along with making deposits worth VND8.1 trillion ($391.87 million) in total. The deposits were sent to either the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) or Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank).
Last December, Viettel, MobiFone and VinaPhone were allowed to recoup half of their deposits, equivalent to VND3.75 trillion ($181.42 million).