GTel to use VNPT’s infrastructure – new chapter in Vietnam’s telecom industry

VietNamNet Bridge – Gtel Mobile, the owner of Gmobile network, has signed a principle agreement with the giant Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) on roaming services. No agreement of this kind was inked in the past.

Vietnam, telecom, Gmobile, investment, profit
Gmobile brand was marketed in 2012

Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam has quoted its sources as reporting that the roaming is likely to start in 2013 after the two sides reach consensus on the implementation details.

Two of the most important tasks Gmobile has to implement in 2013 are to implement the government initiated plan to restructure the telecom market and conduct the roaming with VNPT, also as requested by the government.

“Roaming,” the term used in telecom, which means allowing a network use the waves of other networks, has long been referred to the extension of connectivity service in a location that is different from the home location where the service was registered. Roaming ensures that the wireless device is kept connected to the network, without losing the connection.

In Vietnam, the roaming between two mobile networks has never been conducted, except the one between the two brothers – VinaPhone and MobiFone – of the same parent group VNPT.

There had been no precedent in the history of Vietnam’s telecom that a small network can have roaming with a large network, though the demand was always very high from the small networks that newly joined the market.

In the past, when Viettel was a new comer on the market and it was small, the mobile network once expressed its willing to have roaming with VNPT, but it was refused.

Two or three years ago, EVN Telecom, which is now a part of Viettel after a merger deal, also several times asked Viettel, VinaPhone and MobiFone to allow it to use their waves in the localities where EVN Telecom still could not reach to. However, all the three big guys shook their heads.

A deputy director of a big mobile network explained that the big guys have to spend big money to develop their infrastructure items to be ready to serve the increasingly high numbers of subscribers and improve the call quality, which is considered the biggest competitive edge.

“Therefore, no one wants to share the house he has to work hard to build with others,” he said.

There is always another reason that prompts large networks to refuse to cooperate with small ones that the large networks may be put at a disadvantage. Since the wholesale price applied to small networks is always lower than the retail price (large networks sell directly to consumers), it may happen that the small networks would sell products more cheaply than big networks to compete with big networks.

Regarding the case of Gmobile, if it successfully implements the roaming with VNPT, this would start a new era in Vietnam’s telecom industry, when the use of national resources – the infrastructure items – would be optimized, which means that the resources would not be wasted.

According to experts, the biggest problem of Gmobile now is the limitations in frequency resources, which makes it very difficult for Gmobile to expand its investment.

“At present, Gmobile only has 1,800 MHz waveband, while large networks have all the 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 3G. This is a very big disadvantage of Gmobile in comparison with other mobile network operators,” said GTel’s General Director Nguyen Van Du.

Therefore, if Gmobile can roam through VNPT, it would be able to develop subscribers rapidly. Gmobile has set up an ambitious plan to have six million subscribers by the end of 2013.


Vietnam, telecom, Gmobile, investment, profit