VietNamNet Bridge – Some telecom companies are eyeing the S-Fone advantageous frequency band, hoping to take over the waveband once S-Fone “dies.”
Amid the big difficulties from all sides, S-Fone still has been struggling to survive and develop in a market, where the competition is getting stiffer every day. However, observers believe that S-Fone would die, sooner or later.
In 2010, the South Korean SK Telecom stated that it withdrew from the S-Fone project, thus putting SPT, the Vietnamese partner, in a dilemma. In order to survive, SPT needs to find new partners to cooperate to develop S-Fone network.
However, it was really difficult to find such partners. SK Telecom quit the business cooperation contract with SPT at the moment, when a series of mobile networks in Vietnam and in the world also declared the end of the technology.
The lack of terminal devices has always been the biggest headache to CDMA-based networks in Vietnam, which makes it impossible to increase the number of CDMA-based network subscribers.
SPT was lucky when it could sell stakes to SaigonTel, which then took the responsibility of looking for partners, both domestic and foreign, who would accept to make investment to develop S-Fone network.
However, SaigonTel was not powerful enough to replace SK Telecom. SaigonTel is really a “big guy,” but it remains a new comer in the telecom sector.
No new news has been reported so far, no official cooperation agreement has been inked, while the potential partners for S-Fone have not turned up. S-Fone still has been bogging down in its big difficulties.
In early 2012, SPT announced a “revolutionary business plan” for S-Fone, under which S-Fone would use HSPA (3G) with 850 MHz waveband instead of CDMA technology.
However, S-Fone has been warned that it would be very costly to change the technology, because S-Fone would have to change nearly all the radio network and can only keep some basic units, such as transmission lines and stations.
S-Fone would not only have to make heavy investments to develop a new 3G network, but also have to support clients in changing mobile phone sets.
Analysts have warned that the “game” would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, which would be completed by 2013 at the soonest. As such, S-Fone would need a powerful investor who has enough money to pump capital to rescue the network.
Meanwhile, analysts believe that the current Vietnamese severe telecom market would not attract investors. Vimpelcom, the Russian partner, has run away from Vietnam after bargaining its shares away at just 45 million dollars. Hutchison and Hanoi Telecom are running Vietnamobile network with big worries.
On July 14, 2012, the spokesman of S-Fone told Buu dien reporters that S-Fone is still conducting negotiations to look for partners. However, people believe that no one has expressed his interests in S-Fone so far.
A manager of a big telecom group in Vietnam has complained that S-Fone cannot pay the connect fee to the group. “We have cut some connection channels, but the network has not had any reaction,” he said.
Buu Dien has quoted its sources as saying that some telecom companies are eyeing the waveband S-Fone is having. Experts believe that the waveband granted to S-Fone is one of the best ones now, which would bring big advantages to the network operators who can obtain it.
Source: Buu Dien