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Vietnam to stop importing 2G, 3G phones from July 1

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HCMC – A new circular of the Ministry of Information and Communications bans the production and import from July 1, 2021 of phones using the second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) cellular mobile technology to accelerate the development of higher-technology cellular networks such as 4G and 5G.

The ministry’s Circular 43 regulates that from July 1, all mobile phones manufactured in or imported to Vietnam must use the Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) or 4G technology. 2G and 3G phones manufactured in or imported to the country before July 1 will continue to be sold or used.

According to Hoang Minh Cuong, director of the Telecommunications Department under the Ministry of Information and Communications, the number of 2G phones used in Vietnam has dropped significantly, falling by 6-7 million units from late 2019 to the end of the third quarter of 2020.

Vietnam plans to bring the number of 2G subscribers to below 5% by 2022 so that it can stop 2G services by then. Shutting down 2G and 3G will leave more bandwidth for the 4G and 5G networks. The Ministry of Information and Communications has licensed local telecom carriers Viettel and MobiFone to launch the commercial pilot of the 5G network.

According to a survey by Adsota, some 45% of the Vietnamese population, or 43.7 million people, used smartphones as of late 2019. The country aims to have all residents use smartphones by 2025 and boost the production of Vietnamese-made smartphones.

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