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Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Vietnam to phase out 2G networks by September 2024

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Vietnam is set to phase out its 2G mobile networks, rendering traditional feature phones obsolete by September 2024, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC).

This decision is in line with the national digital transformation program, signaling a strategic shift towards the eventual discontinuation of 3G networks.

Speaking at a forum organized by the ICT Press Club on December 5, Nguyen Phong Nha, deputy director of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority under the MIC, said that retiring 2G networks aligns with Vietnam’s broader objectives in embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). The move aims to facilitate high-speed access to modern services and transactions within the evolving digital landscape.

The decision also anticipates the licensing of 5G networks in Vietnam. Nha said that maintaining multiple technologies concurrently, including 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G, incurs significant operational costs. The phased shutdown of 2G networks, with subsequent plans for 3G, has garnered widespread support from industry stakeholders.

Discontinuing 2G networks is in line with global trends. As of June, 149 networks across 77 countries had already phased out outdated technologies, including 2G and 3G, according to experts at the forum.

Early adopters of this trend include the United States, Australia, and Singapore. By September 2024, Vietnam will cease supporting 2G-only mobile subscriptions, said Vu Thu Hien, head of the Frequency Policy and Planning Division. However, the ministry will consider extending licenses by two years on the 900 MHz band to provide 2G services to 3G and non-VoLTE 4G subscribers.

This extension aims to accommodate early-stage 3G and 4G smartphone users without VoLTE integration, allowing them to continue using 2G and 3G services until September 2026.

Beyond this period, the ministry will review and reallocate the 900 MHz band to ensure compatibility with the development of 4G and 5G technologies.

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