|Vietnam unprepared for booming
HANOI - A
surge of ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line)
users in Vietnam during recent months has
exhausted the capacities of Internet service
providers, leaving 20% of the market unserved,
according to telecom authorities.
statistics from the Ministry of Posts and
Telematics showed the country's five major
Internet service providers - VDC (Vietnam
Datacommunications Company), FPT Internet,
military-based Viettel, Netnam, and Saigon Postel
- are able to meet only 80% of the demand for ADSL
The high-speed Internet
connection was initially launched in Vietnam in
late 2002, and the number of subscribers had
reached nearly 25,000 by the end of last year.
But in recent months that figure has
rocketed to more than 100,000 subscribers thanks
to a constant reduction in service fees and the
service's convenience compared to snail-paced
dial-up Internet connections.
dial-up offers a maximum speed of 56 kilobytes per
second (kbps), ADSL connection speeds range from
2,048kbps to 8,192kbps per second for downloading
data and 640kbps for uploading data.
Market observers say the actual number of
ADSL users is much higher than industry figures
project, since ADSL is offered at many Internet
cafes, schools, universities and companies.
According to statistics from the Ministry
of Posts and Telematics, the number of Internet
users nationwide is likely to surpass 7 million
people this year.
observers predict that ADSL subscriptions will
reach 200,000 this year, representing a huge
growth rate of almost 200%.
military telecom joint-stock company (Viettel)
said the company's ADSL subscriptions registered a
whopping 100% increase over the first three months
of the year to around 9,000 subscribers.
VDC currently claims half of the market
share with more than 50,000 subscribers, followed
by FPT Internet - an affiliate of the corporation
for financing and promoting technology - with
VDC's director, Vu Hoang
Lien, admitted the unexpected surge in demand had
caught service providers off guard and that the
current infrastructure could not satisfy customer
"Providers failed to anticipate
the situation, so we have yet to invest enough to
catch up with the growth," he said.
source from VDC revealed that the company has
placed about 20,000 ADSL applications in Ho Chi
Minh City on a waiting list while it upgrades its
However, Lien was
optimistic that the market "fever" would
eventually benefit Internet users since providers,
driven by the market's positive trend, will rush
to expand their networks and services.
will be healthy competition," Lien said. "It will
not only provide customers with a cheap and
high-quality service but also promises high
profits for Internet providers." VDC plans to
upgrade Internet bandwidth to two gigabytes per
second this year.
Market observers also
believe that unlike other commodities, where
prices are often inflated by supply shortages, the
Internet service market trends toward lowering
their service fees in order to recruit
Lien said that VDC plans to
launch a more flexible service package for
customers once the company receives approval from
the Ministry of Posts and Telematics to abolish
the fixed VND1 million (US$63,171) service package
The company will offer an ADSL-based
video conference system in May and a voice-mail
service in the second quarter.
surfing the Internet for news, chatting and
e-mail, Vietnamese users can now make
international phone calls at dirt-cheap rates,
organize conferences, watch on-demand videos,
enjoy music and play online games via high-speed
The cost for home users is about
VND500,000 ($31) for unlimited downloads, or an
average of VND60 for one downloaded kilobyte plus
a monthly subscription fee of VND100,000
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