Luxembourg’s Hutchison Communications SARL, a subsidiary of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, has launched a third-generation (3G) mobile phone network project. The investment capital is considered the biggest ever of this kind in Vietnam. The project has been in construction since December 2004.
According to Phuc Hong Vo, minister of Planning and Investment, the investment is a US$655.9 million 3G mobile telecommunications project. Hutchison’s proposal is for tenure of 15 years. It is the first 3G project to be deployed using Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology in Hanoi capital and the whole of North Vietnam.
Chau Minh Trinh, director of Hanoi Telecom, the local partner of Hutchison, claimed that Hutchison is ready to inject US$300 million into the project in the first two-years.
“Our project is set to open in June, and is expected to attract about three million users in the first ten-years,” said Chau.
She added that the project is of the business cooperation contract (BCC) form in which profits will be divided equally between the two companies, Hanoi Telecom and Hutchison Telecommunications. Equipment and technology for the project are imported from Japan, EU and the US.
In 2004, Hanoi Telecom reached an agreement with Qualcomm to establish a training centre for CDMA technology, one of the systems used in 3G networks. The institution, the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, started operations early this year providing training for several operators in the region.
Mobile internet, Data Comm
Hutchison Telecom is actively expanding its portfolio of service offerings in mobile internet and high-speed data communications. “With our ambitious expansion, we sought to consider the efficient cooperation between marketing and IT from the start of the project,” said Ronald To, system architect at Hutchison Telecom. “By analysing and reporting on our customer view, every communications and marketing channel can be used more effectively through a detailed analysis of customers’ behavior and preferences, giving us the opportunity to exploit this knowledge and accurately drive our business forward in Vietnam along with Hanoi Telecom.”
Meanwhile, another CDMA project managed by VP Telecom will be operated in December 2005, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications. The project is based on CDMA2000-1X EVDO technology. Truc Mai Liem, deputy minister of Post and Telematics, noted that this CDMA network, owned by VP Telecom, an affiliate to Electricity Vietnam Corp (EVN), is under construction.
Aside from Hutchison, Vietnam currently has five mobile phone networks, including VinaPhone, MobiFone (Comvik-Sweden), Viettel (Vietnamese Army), S-Fone (Korea Telecom) and Cityphone. Korean consortium SLD Telecom -a Singapore-registered joint venture between SK Telecom, LG Electronics and Dong Ah Elecomm -entered the market with its S-Fone network in 2003 and is the only one so far operating the CDMA technology.