Vietnam is a good model in telecom infrastructure development that countries around could learn from, said Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao.
He was speaking at the virtual ministerial roundtable under the 2021 ITU Digital World held on October 13, themed “Cutting the cost: can affordable access accelerate digital transformation?”.
|Overview of the ministerial roundtable. Photo: Le Anh Dung|
Zhao said Vietnam has been working with countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in promoting telecommunication development despite the low profitability and often being ignored by investors.
Zhao added to date, more than half of the world is connected via IT and telecom technologies. However, success only comes when the rest of the world gains access to the internet at an affordable price.
To realize this target, Zhao called for the world to focus on investing in telecom infrastructure via greater incentives and strong partnerships between countries.
For his part, Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung said for every country, the success of the digital transformation would depend on leaders at the highest level.
“Leaders have to make the difficult choice of restructuring the entire operation and reallocate resources, including the workforce, to embark on the digitalization,” Hung noted.
In Vietnam, digitalization is centered around the development of the digital economy, society, and Government, with the digital infrastructure playing a key part in this process.
“Vietnam strives to ensure 100% of the people have access to the internet by late 2021,” Hung said.
Hung said Vietnam is in the process of testing the 5G network, with preparation being accelerated to commercialize the network by 2022.
To further boost internet access with affordability, Hung said local network carriers have offered a special package worth nearly $500 million for users during the pandemic.
“By 2030, Vietnam would stop providing 2G network for 100% of the people to upgrade to better networks,” Hung stressed, noting the full internet coverage would be possible with the provision of cheap smartphones at around $30 by local carriers.
Hung added the Vietnamese Government is pushing for taking public services and other key sectors, such as education, healthcare, agriculture, and finance, online.
Sharing Hung’s view, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies Rashad Nabiyev suggested governments should be the backbone in countries’ efforts to promote digitalization.
With incentive policies and through the public-private partnership (PPP), Governments may further attract private investment into digital infrastructure, Nabiyev added.
Minister of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications of Costa Rica Paola Vega Castillo said her country is working on a five-year telecommunication strategy for the private sector to play a greater role in the digitalization process.
From this process, businesses would benefit under the PPP model, she said.
Wrapping up the conference, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said digital services have proved to be the right solution during the pandemic in terms of flexibility and adaptability to support sustainable growth.
“No country, organization or individual should stay aloof of the digitalization process, which is a global issue and needs a global approach,” Chinh said.
“International cooperation in digital transformation, especially in the ITU framework, should aim to a greener, more inclusive, and fairer digital world,” Chinh suggested.
The prime minister also noted each Government should play a leading role to ensure the people staying central and being the main beneficiary of such a process.
As Vietnam is taking steps to overcome the pandemic impacts, Chinh expected digitalization to spearhead the country’s efforts to soon return to a new normalcy.
“Vietnam is committed to cooperating with countries, organizations, and enterprises in building a digital world,” Chinh stressed.