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Aug 26, 2019 / 16:53

Viettel moves away from Huawei’s 5G technology

Given reports that it is not safe to use Huawei technology, Viettel has decided to go with safer options, said the telco`s executive.

Vietnam’s largest mobile carrier Viettel Group will deploy Ericsson AB’s equipment in Hanoi and Nokia Oyj’s technology in Ho Chi Minh City, according to the military-run telco CEO Le Dang Dung. 
Illustrative photo.
Illustrative photo.
Viettel is expected to use 5G chipsets from Qualcomm and another US company, said Dung in an interview with Bloomberg, adding the carrier is also developing its own equipment. 

“We are not going to work with Huawei right now,” Dung was quoted as saying. “It’s a bit sensitive with Huawei now. There were reports that it’s not safe to use Huawei. So Viettel’s stance is that, given all this information, we should just go with the safer ones. So we choose Nokia and Ericsson from Europe.”

Other leading carriers in Vietnam appear to be shying away from Huawei, as well. MobiFone is using Samsung Electronics equipment while Vietnam Telecom Services Company, or Vinaphone, entered into a partnership with Nokia to deploy its 5G network, according to local media.

“I think Huawei is having difficulties in Vietnam right now, since other companies don’t use them as well,” said Dung, whose carrier has about 60 million customers in the nation of about 96 million people.

Dung insisted Viettel’s decision not to use Huawei for its 5G networks was a technological one and not tied to geopolitical considerations.

​“We decided not to use Huawei, not because of the US ban on Huawei -- we just made our own decision,” he said. “Many other countries, including the U.S., have found evidence that showed using Huawei is not safe for the security of the national network. So we need to be more cautious.”

Previously, Huawei’s local CEO to Vietnam Fine Fan said to Nikkei the company stands a good chance of being chosen to supply 5G network equipment to Vietnam’s mobile carriers

Huawei's global expansion has faced headwinds as countries block or reconsider participation by the world's biggest telecommunications equipment supplier in local 5G network projects.

Huawei has been the largest provider of 2G and 3G network equipment in Vietnam, though the company lost its lead when 4G arrived, according to Fan. 

Local carriers plan to launch ultrafast 5G networks by 2021, a move in line with the government's push to make Vietnam a hub for industries that rely on faster data transmission, such as artificial intelligence and the "internet of things." 

Last November, Nguyen Manh Hung, who lead Viettel before being appointed minister of Information and Communications, said that by 2020 when the world starts implementing 5G, Vietnam would be one of the first countries launching it. 

Hung added that while all 2G and 3G network devices are imported, Vietnam will be able to produce the 5G network devices locally by 2020.