New Internet Service Provider To Expand Network

Source: Vientiane Times

Internet users will have a wider choice of service options when the Lao Asia Pacific Satellite Co., Ltd. rolls out 4G wireless throughout the country early next year.

The company’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr Sisan Pongnathy, told Vientiane Times on Monday that its new services would come into effect on January 1, 2019. To ensure the system operates as intended, the company will run public and private application tests from October to December.

“In terms of engineering, I think that providing fast internet without the use of fibre is a good way to go, especially for schools along the borders,” Mr Sisan said.

The company has also been providing wireless connections in flood-hit areas of Attapeu province since Sanamxay district was inundated on July 23.

During the first few weeks after the flood internet signals disappeared so Lao Asia Pacific Satellite Co., Ltd. provided wireless connectivity at the press centre in Sanamxay district.

This type of system is also in operation across about 90 percent of the country.

Some companies already offer wireless and fibre internet with about the same speed, but Mr Sisan says his company can also provide services to people in inaccessible areas.

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The company will provide 4G internet access using SIM cards. Initially, the company may use SIM card numbers that begin with 6.  Of the existing Internet service providers, Beeline’s SIM card numbers begin with 7, Lao Telecom Company has 5 as the first number, ETL Company Limited uses the number 2, and Unitel numbers begin with 9.

According to the National Internet Centre in Vientiane there is an uptake in people using Internet on their phones but this is not immediately evident.

Laos has a population of 6.5 million and a 70 to 80 percent mobile phone penetration rate but only 37.5 percent of people access the Internet on their mobiles.

Most mobile Internet users are in large towns like Vientiane where it is not uncommon for people to have two or three cell phones. Those who have more than one phone tend to use them for different purposes. One might be used to call friends, another for family, and a third for Internet access.

The most common use of mobile Internet is to watch movies and use social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Line and WeChat.

People who don’t live in large towns probably have a phone but don’t use the Internet, although in the future that may change.

Lao Asia Pacific Satellite Co., Ltd. provides 4G wireless and satellite television that transmits 130 channels in nine languages from Laos, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, the UK and other countries.

More than half of the company’s customers that use satellite transmission from Laos are in Indonesia.