09:48 | 15/01/2018 Information Technology
(VEN) - Over 50 members of the ICT Press Club recently picked the ten top-rated information and communications technology (ICT) events and milestones of 2017.
1. 4G services launch
The military-run telecom giant Viettel officially launched its 4G service nationwide on April 18. It deploys 36,000 4G Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) nationwide and 4G signals now cover 704 or 99 percent of all districts in Vietnam. In November 2016, the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) launched its 4G service on Phu Quoc Island in the southern coastal province of Kien Giang. After that, VNPT decided to offer its 4G service in each locality, similar to MobiFone.
2. Scrapping of Article 292 under the 2015 Penal Code
Article 292 of the 2015 Penal Code adopted by the National Assembly stirred controversy by outlawing services offered online or via telecommunication networks without prior permission. The Vietnamese startup community stood to lose the most given their total dependence on computer and telecommunication networks as business tools. In light of these considerations, the National Assembly Standing Committee agreed to abolish the controversial article.
3. 20th anniversary of internet introduction
2017 marked 20 years of internet development in Vietnam. Vietnam was known for its early deployment of 2G networks and continued spread of 3G and 4G, with modern telecommunication and internet infrastructure covering the nation from cities to rural areas, mountainous provinces to the islands. According to statistics, Vietnam has more than 50 million internet users, accounting for 54 percent of the population, higher than the global average at 46.64 percent. Vietnam is also ranked among countries with the highest number of internet users in Asia.
4. Controversy over draft Law on Cyber Security
After 14 revisions, the draft Law on Cyber Security compiled by the Ministry of Public Security was considered finalized and more detailed. However some proposals are not consistent with international commitments Vietnam has made.
5. Vietnam works with Google and Facebook
The Ministry of Information and Communications worked with Google and Facebook several times in 2017 to discuss the removal of anti-government contents. The ministry said Google and Facebook pledged to remove thousands of videos and accounts from their platforms.
6. Recommendation to avoid bitcoin
Bitcoin is growing in popularity in the Asian market after eight years of existence. This virtual currency saw a record price of more than US$19,700 in mid-December. After that, the value of the digital currency dropped, and some international exchanges closed temporarily when its price fell below US$11,000. Some Vietnamese investors have ignored recommendations by the State Bank of Vietnam to reject bitcoin in legal transactions.
7. Changes in telephone area codes
Landline telephone area codes in 59 among 63 provinces and cities nationwide were changed this year. The changes were designed to ensure consistency in area codes and mobile phone numbers throughout the country. VNPT was strongly affected by the changes, as it has the largest number of subscribers.
8. Bkav introduces Bphone 2017
On August 8, 2017, the Bkav Corporation introduced Bphone 2017. This event attracted the interest of the domestic and international public. Despite criticism, the Bkav Corporation continues to engage in smartphone manufacturing, determined to conquer the domestic smartphone market, which is still in the hands of foreigners.
9. Vietnam revokes illegally registered SIM cards
The Ministry of Information and Communications ordered more than 18 million illegally registered SIM cards revoked by January 23, 2017. In March 2017, five network operators including Viettel, VinaPhone, MobiFone, Gtel and Vietnamobile signed an additional commitment to cancel contracts with agents violating this order. In May 2017, they signed a joint commitment to participate in the fight against spam messages. By the end of December 2017, all four major network operators launched their smart spam filtering systems.
10. Jack Ma comes to Vietnam to promote e-payment
Jack Ma, the Chinese self-made billionaire, visited Vietnam to advertise Alipay and non-cash payment methods. Attending the annual Vietnam E-Payment Forum (VEPF) held in Hanoi on November 6, he talked about his experience in developing e-commerce and mobile payment services in China as well as the globalization process of Alibaba’s e-commerce platform.