Vietnam Comes Calling

Via The Financial Times, a report highlighting Viettel’s (the military-run mobile phone network operator that is Vietnam’s largest) overseas expansion in the past few years.  As the article notes:

“…The persistent attempts by Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, to break into into the US have been met with hostility by American legislators suspicious about the company’s alleged links to the Chinese military (denied by the company).

Viettel, the military-run mobile phone network operator that is Vietnam’s largest, had encountered no such difficulties in its rapid overseas expansion over the past few years.

After launching networks in Laos and Cambodia (where many are still wary about their larger neighbour), Viettel has moved into Bangladesh, Haiti and now Mozambique.

The African nation has just agreed to allow Movitel, a joint venture between Viettel and a local partner, to set up its third mobile phone network. The joint venture will invest over $400m in Mozambique over the next five years, according to Bloomberg.

Viettel’s expansion into developing nations is an interesting example of the “south-south” investment that is likely to become increasingly widespread in future years.

Vietnam is proud of its recently attained middle-income status. But it knows only too well the challenges faced by the likes of Laos, Haiti and Mozambique in building up their telecoms sectors: low per capita income, challenging geography and weak infrastructure.

While companies such as Viettel invariably cannot offer the same levels of investment or expertise as global telecoms giants like Orange or Vodafone, they can help to boost the communications infrastructure at a much lower cost.

Given the speed with which mobile phones have penetrated Vietnam – there are more mobile phone subscribers than people in the country according to government statistics – the country’s operators appear to be in a good position to spread their franchise.”

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 18th, 2010 at 1:49 pm and is filed under Vietnam.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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