Limited market boost from Vietnam telco network-sharing: Report

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Electricity and telephone cables criss-crossing a street in Ho Chi Minh City.
JUNE 17, 2020 - 4:46 PM

VIETNAM’S landmark telco network-sharing deal will offer little uplift to private-sector players, as state-linked operators still have the upper hand in the market, according to analysts.

Viettel, VNPT-Vinaphone, GMobile and MobiFone recently agreed to share some 1,200 base transceiver stations, while privately-owned Vietnamobile did not take part in the arrangement.

“The state remains a dominant force in the Vietnam telecoms landscape, and is a key facilitator of partnerships between operators,” Fitch Ratings analysts said in a report, as they noted that private-sector investment has largely focused on mobile virtual network operators.

Still, the analysts believe that there is room for mergers and acquisitions in the towers segment, as network sharing could be extended to other telecom infrastructure in future.

The market for Vietnam’s estimated 100,000 towers “is highly fragmented with several private players owning hundreds of towers”, they said, adding that the drive to streamline and coordinate asset construction might pave the way for market consolidation.