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Networks brace for holiday calling   2008-02-05 - VNS

Mobile operators are upgrading their networks to meet double or triple normal user demand during Tet (Lunar New Year).

Mobile users try to place calls as the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday approaches. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

HA NOI — Mobile operators are upgrading their networks to meet double or triple normal user demand during Tet (Lunar New Year).

VinaPhone deputy director Ho Duc Thang said the company had increased its base transmission station (BTS) platforms to 5,000 and upgraded facilities to exchange up to 7 million short messages per hour.

Mobifone installed 10,000 additional transceivers in order to quadruple the capacity of its mobile network compared to the same period last year, said company director Le Ngoc Minh.

Viettel Telecom invested in 19 new switchboards and 500 new BTS platforms during the past two months, expecting to meet the demand of some 25 million subscribers during Tet, company director Tong Viet Trung reported.

The companies said they expanded their networks in rural areas in order serve a large number of customers visiting their hometowns during the holidays.

Even so, service providers said there would be network jams in certain concentrated areas and during peak call times.

Mobile users in some areas have already reported network problems, according to local press.

A MobiFone subscriber in HCM City’s District 7 said, "Many people have been unable to contact me recently though I never turn off my phone." A VinaPhone subscriber in District 1 said he lost coverage three time throughout a ten minute phone call.

Late last week, network jams were reported with some Viettel subscribers in the northern provinces of Hai Phong and Bac Giang and with some MobiFone users in the central city of Hue.

"Mobile operators in Viet Nam and elsewhere in the world can’t avoid the situation," Minh said. "Customers should limit making phone calls and sending messages during peak hours."

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Le Nam Thang said the ministry would guide enterprises to actively enhance their service quality to restrict network jams.

The number of subscribers increasing due to cost reduction and special offers during the past months would also exacerbate the situation, said industry insiders. VinaPhone and MobiFone said there were some 25,000 new users subscribing to their networks a day.

According to the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Group, connection duration of VinaPhone and MobiFone reached 70 million minutes during Tet last year.

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