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  New Technology & new products

Satellite links remote areas

The first inner-country internet broadband service using a Thai satellite is set to be available in remote and mountainous areas late this year after Vietnam Telecom International (VTI) finishes its project to install a VSAT-IP network in October.

The company under the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT) will kickstart its project to offer four basic services of broadband internet connection, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), virtual private network (VPN) and trunking services.

These services will be used for GSM mobile networks comprising MobiFone, VinaPhone and Viettel in mountainous and remote areas through Internet Protocol via the $400-million Thaicom4, the world’s largest commercial satellite, Thaicom4 from Thailand’s launching and operating satellite Shin Satellite with a 12-year service life which was launched on August 11.

The satellite will offer a bandwidth capacity of 40 Gbps through 114 transponders and service coverage for 22 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Targeted customers include industrial parks, enterprises with a nationwide network, households, tourism resorts and people in remote and mountainous areas that fixed telephone lines cannot reach. The company aims to offer value added services including e-learning and video conferencing in the future.

The internet connection will consist of two packages, the first with a capacity of 2Mbps download and 512 kbps upload, and the other offering 512 kbps and 128 kpbs.

The cost of the service is expected to be 30 per cent higher than a similar service offered by other connection measures. The charge will be around VND1.16 million a month for the first package and VND730,000 for the second package.

The company will also offer bandwidth channels for leasing with charges 10-31 per cent higher than the current service offered by very small aperture terminal (VSAT).

The VoIP service also has two packages including one aimed at public users, with a charge similar to fixed telephone rates and another package for households and other customers which is similar to mobile service charge rates.

Ho Cong Lam, VTI deputy managing director, said the company will set up the main Hanoi gateway centre based in Hoai Duc district in Ha Tay province including large antenna pedestal panning frames to link with the satellite.

The 102-antenna installation will be completed in October mostly in the central and northern provinces including Lang Son, Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Nghe An, Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh.

The company expects the newly launched satellite to ready for commerce in October at which time the firm will begin testing the service before offering it to the public at either the end of this year or early next year. The move also aims to execute the plan to reach 100 per cent of communes in Vietnam late this year.

“We are not afraid of competition. The market size is very large and it depends on the VTI capability because it offers services that fixed lines are unable to offer,” said Lam.

The project, which was approved by VNPT late last year, was setback due to the cancellation of the satellite launch. For the time being, Vietnam DataCommunications Company has offered the virtual private network abroad in conjunction with foreign partners, and currently VTI’s VSAT offers channels for lease services with a lower capacity than the VSAT-IP.

Vietnam Investment Review - (05/09/2005)

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