Circular No.43 about national technical regulations on terrestrial mobile communication equipment, which takes effect from July 1, states all mobile phones manufactured in or imported into Vietnam must use Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) or 4G technology.
This means all mobile devices with simply 2G, 3G or combined technology will not be produced and imported into Vietnam.
Phones which are produced and imported before July 1 will still be allowed to be sold.
The circular is considered a step towards turning off 2G in the first quarter of 2022 as well as universalising smartphones by 2025.
Previously, Hoang Minh Cuong, Director of the MIC’s Telecommunications Department, said that the production of phones with 2G technology had decreased significantly. The number of phones fell by 6-7 million units from the end of 2019 to the end of the third quarter of 2020.
Cuong said that the other 12 million phones are expected to be wiped out in the first quarter of 2022.
Vietnam aims for all residents to use smartphones by 2025 under a strategy of providing “made-in-Vietnam” smartphones costing less than US$50. Many phone producers and network providers have signed up to the plan.
The target, set by Minister of Information and Communication Nguyen Manh Hung, is one of the MIC’s eight key tasks in the coming time as part of an effort to accelerate the digital society and digital transformation in Vietnam.
As of January 2021, Vietnam had more than 10 million users of 2G phones. The number of subscribers using smartphones reached around 88 million, about 83 million of which used 4G devices.
Vietnam is also piloting 5G services and targets to universalise 5G in the 2023-25 period.