Vietnam Claims Homegrown 5G But Experts Remain Skeptical

Viettel is a Vietnamese company that is actually run by the Vietnamese military. The company recently announced that they have been developing their own equipment to launch a homegrown-5G service nationwide. Industry experts around the world remain skeptical. 

Viettel made the announcement after they held a private demonstration for top government officials demonstrating their 5G service through a video call conducted over the network. The company claims that the service will be launched across the country by June 2020. 

If Viettel’s declaration is true, then they have become only the sixth company in the world to successfully produce the equipment needed to create a true 5G network. The only other companies who currently have the ability to create that technology are: Huawei, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson and ZTE. 

Dan Bieler, an analyst at Forrester Research spoke with the BBC about Viettel’s claims. “It cost the other players billions of dollars to develop their own 5G portfolios and they didn’t do it overnight, said Bieler. “I’m sceptical from a perspective of how much capital expenditure Viettel really has available to fund such research and then manufacture these products.”

5G equipment is incredibly valuable, and if it was easy to manufacture more companies would be trying to cash in. The odds of a Vietnamese company recreating that technology in just six months are infinitesimal. 

This announcement may be a calculated move from the Vietnamese government in an attempt to continue to grow their sphere of influence. It’s important to remember that Vietnam serving on the U.N Security Council until 2021 and is taking over as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year. Adding the accolade of exporting a major technological asset, like 5G networking hardware would certainly be helpful for the global perception of the country. 

Unfortunately, we may not know the truth by Viettel’s statement for several more months. Rest assured many eyes will turn towards Vietnam come June to see if the 5G network lives up to the promises made today.