According to the New York Times, telecommunications companies in Vietnam are avoiding using Huawei equipment in their 5G plans. The NYT article finds this unusual as companies in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia have already welcomed Huawei for their 5G plans.
However, in Vietnam the major wireless carriers are working with Ericsson and Nokia for their 5G collaborations. A spokesperson for government owned Viettel stressed the company is not prohibited from using Huawei equipment.
The NYT article cites Major General Le Van Cuong, the former director of the Institute of Strategic Studies at the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security states that Vietnam should view China as a cyber security threat if “a superpower like America regards China as a cybersecurity threat”.
Vietnam currently has a majority of its people connected to 4G and hopes to have 5G connections countrywide by 2020.
As China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, Vietnam has supported previous initiatives such as Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. However, both sides claim portions of the disputed South China Seas which has led to tensions between the two countries, even though China is Vietnam’s largest trading parter.
While Vietnamese telecom companies have cooperated with Ericsson and Nokia, it is unsure whether those carriers will speak to Huawei.
The NYT article also says Viettel is developing their own software and equipment in house, employing 300 engineers in research and development. he also notes that 1,000 of the 4G base stations across Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries are also self-produced by Viettel.