Vietnam awards first trial 5G license to Viettel

Viettel's President and CEO Le Dang Dung is seen at his office during an interview in Hanoi, Vietnam January 4, 2019. Picture taken January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kham

HANOI (Reuters) - The Vietnamese government has awarded its first trial 5G license to Viettel, the largest telecommunication company in the Southeast Asian nation, the Ministry of Information and Communications said on Wednesday.

The license allows the military-run company to launch 5G services in two of Vietnam’s largest cities - Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City - on a trial basis, the ministry said.

The company is not permitted to collect fees from its 5G users during the trial period, which will end on Jan. 21, 2020, according to the statement.

The company had earmarked $40 million for the development of its own 5G chipset, but was also considering using technology from Ericsson and Nokia, Viettel’s President and Chief Executive Officer Le Dang Dung told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

The company, formally known as Viettel Group, has about 60 million subscribers in Vietnam and over 30 million users across 10 other countries - predominantly Asia and Africa.

Reporting by Khanh Vu, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips