Chu Jung Nam, vice chairman of SK Telecom, the South Korean partner in the CDMA mobile phone network S-Fone, gave The Saigon Times Daily an exclusive interview about Vietnam’s telecoms market. Cho will visit Vietnam this week to discuss ways to promote the development of the telecoms sector and celebrate S-Fone’s 100,000th subscriber in the first start-up year.
Why did SK Telecom come up with the decision to invest in the telecoms sector in Vietnam?
Vietnam’s telecom market holds potential. The country has high economic growth and a large population of 80 million. The Vietnamese government is committed to developing the telecoms industry by encouraging competition and the application of advanced technology such as CDMA (code division multiple access). We believe SK Telecom can land in Vietnam softly owing to similarities in culture and characteristics of people.
The competition in the telecoms market is very fierce. What will SK do to ensure success for S-Fone?
Competition between telecom service operators is mainly tariff-oriented. S-Fone will focus less on tariff–oriented. S-Fone will focus less on tariff–oriented competition and pay more attention to competition with service quality. We will try to expand network coverage as soon as possible and differentiate our service with CDMA’s advanced value-added services and customer–oriented marketing. With advanced technology and operational know–how, SK telecom has established its position as a leading telecoms company in the intensely competitive and customer–driven South Korean market. I am sure that such experience will be an asset to a successful business in Vietnam.
What should Vietnam do to sustain growth for the telecoms sector?
S-Fone’s entry in to the local market has created more competition and boosted phone service. Competition will become more intense, as more mobile service providers will enter the market, such as Viettel. Hanoi Telecom and VP Telecom. Existing operators have great advantages over latecomers will be no matches for existing operators in their early stages if conditions are applied uniformly to both. Therefore, instead of promoting more operators to enter into the market, it is much more important to incubate newcomers for a certain period until they are brought up a competent level for fair and healthy competition.
How do you envisage the future of the telecoms market?
Vietnam boasts high economic growth and the telecoms market has grown rapidly over the past few years, by more than 50%. The high economic growth rate will be sustained, and the mobile telecoms industry will be a key driver to facilitate such growth. The mobile telecom industry is growing faster than before as a result of more active competition between operators. I believer the penetration rate will jump to a two digit figure over the next few years. Such remarkable growth can come true under the circumstances of fair and healthy competition.