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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Viettel starts tests on new Cambodian 3G network

Viettel starts tests on new Cambodian 3G network

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A mobile-phone vendor sells Metfone-branded handsets Monday in Phnom Penh. The Vietnamese telecoms provider says it hit revenue targets in the Kingdom in 2009, but declined to break down its financial performance for the year.

Vietnamese telecoms provider says it will install 1,500 3G stations this quarter

MOBILE-phone company Viettel, which operates under the brand name Metfone, is already testing 3G services ahead of a planned launch this year, according to Nguyen Duy Tho, the firm’s managing director in Cambodia.

The Vietnamese firm plans to install 1,500 3G stations in the first quarter, he said by email Monday, and will later extend coverage to all districts, although no time frame was given for the launch or the schedule for upgrading coverage. Nguyen Duy Tho told the Post at the end of October that the service would be launched at the beginning of this year.

“Currently, we are testing 3G to prepare for [an] official launching [of] this service in 2010,” he said.

Viettel launched its 3G network in Laos in October.

The firm will also add a further 3,000 2G stations and 13,000 kilometres of cable during the first quarter, said Nguyen Duy Tho. The company had met its Cambodia revenue target for 2009, he added, without giving further details.

Vietnam’s Than Nien News.com reported Saturday that the firm generated US$70 million in revenues from Cambodia and Laos last year. Vietnamese media reports in September said Viettel was expecting revenues of $50 million in Cambodia for 2009, without citing a source for the information.

Viettel recorded total pre-tax profits of more than 10 trillion dong ($541 million) last year with users increasing 50 percent, according to Deputy CEO Nguyen Manh Hung, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Viettel’s mobile-phone service was its strongest source of revenues in 2009, said Nguyen Duy Tho – the firm also operates an Internet service in the Kingdom – however, “in terms of return on investment, mobile has not” shown the most potential.

The firm has invested $250 million in Cambodia and Laos, Bloomberg reported without breaking down the investment that went to the Kingdom.

Nguyen Duy Tho declined to set a revenue target for 2010, but gave Viettel’s ambitious targets for Cambodia in the longer term. The Vietnamese operator is aiming to capture 40 percent of the overall mobile market, he said, 80 percent of the broadband Internet market and 80 percent of the telecoms landline market.

Viettel, which is owned by the Vietnamese military, officially launched its mobile-phone service in February and began distributing SIM cards at the end of 2008.

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