Viet Nam has 16 million 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) subscribers benefiting from wide-area wireless voice messages, mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV by the end of May.
The figure represents a 20 per cent increase over December 2011, according to the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Of the four mobile operators that provide 3G services, MobiFone has the largest number of subscribers at 6.74 million while Vinaphone has 5.74 million, Viettel 3.38 million and Vietnammobile, 113,000.
First provided in Viet Nam in 2009, the third generation network is being used by two types of terminal equipment, 3G USB receivers (for computer) and 3G enabled smartphones.
Mobile operators in the last three years have installed 33,700 3G BTSs (Base Transmission Stations) nationwide, providing wireless broadband internet access to 91 per cent of the country.
According to a recent survey on 3G carried out in Ha Noi, Da Nang and HCM City by market researcher Nielsen and Viet Nam Post and Telecom newspaper, 52 per cent of subscribers access 3G via USB receivers and 48 per cent via smartphones.
Meanwhile, 90 per cent of subscribers access 3G 3-4 times per week while 40 per cent of them access the network daily.
NTT DoCoMo in Japan launched the first pre-commercial 3G network in 1998 and the first commercial launch of 3G on 1 October 2001.
While Viet Nam has 16 million 3G subscribers out of its 120 million mobilephone subscribers, there are 1.1 billion 3G subscribers out of the 5.9 billion cellular subscribers worldwide, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).