Vietnamese military-owned telecoms operator Viettel has announced it has officially launched third-generation mobile services, becoming Vietnam’s third 3G provider after Vinaphone and MobiFone. Tong Viet Trung, deputy general director of Viettel, revealed that after the deployment of 8,000 base transceiver stations (BTSs), the cellco’s 3G network covers 63 provinces and cities nationwide. By the end of the year Viettel hopes to increase that number to 20,000. The company offers a number of new services over its 3G network, including videocalling and mobile broadband at download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps, and has also begun to offer Apple’s iPhone 3G and 3GS for the first time. After beginning 3G trials last year in 20 provinces, Viettel has already gained close to one million third-generation subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel was awarded a licence to operate 3G services by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) in April 2009, along with Vinaphone, MobiFone and a consortium between EVN Telecom and Hanoi Telecom. Vinaphone was the first cellco to launch the service, in October 2009, followed by MobiFone two months later. EVN has said it expects to launch 3G next month, with services restricted to the country’s largest cities, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
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