Telecoms Network to Undergo Rapid Expansion by 2025
Source: Vientiane Times
The telecommunications network in Laos is set to expand to enable the country’s digital transformation, by ensuring that 3G, 4G, and 5G phone signals cover 100 percent, 90 percent, and 50 percent of homes respectively across the country in 2025.
To implement the five-year national digital economy development plan (2021-2025), the post and telecommunications sector is focusing on six main goals for the postal sector, 18 main plans, 25 programs, and 16 projects related to digital transformation.
The plan for the expansion of telecom networks was outlined by the Minister of Technology and Communications, Prof. Dr. Boviengkham Vongdara, to celebrate the 58th National Post and Telecommunications Day on March 13.
The Ministry of Technology and Communications celebrated the day under the theme ‘Modern post, develop telecommunications for digital transformation throughout the country’. Prof. Dr. Boviengkham said that both the postal and telecommunications sectors had developed considerably in recent years.
In 2022, the 2G network covered 96 percent of all houses in Laos, the 3G network covered 88 percent, and the 4G network covered 75 percent of all homes. The number of wired and wireless landline users now exceeds 1.9 million, more than 14 million mobile phone numbers have been allocated, and there are over 4.4 million Internet account holders.
At present, 63 percent of the population can access the Internet.
In 2020-2022, the Ministry of Technology and Communications supported the government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 by setting up free hotline numbers 163, 164, 165, and 166.
There are now five telecom operators and more than 20 internet service providers, which generate about 715 billion kip for the national budget each year.
Telecom service providers have cut costs for the general public by removing fees, service charges, and toll charges for use of special government numbers, such as 156 for the National Assembly, 1516 for the government, 1599 for the Ministry of Technology and Communications, the 1510 hotline for consumer protection, and other numbers. This amounts to savings of more than 500 million kip a year.
In addition, the postal sector has expanded its services by acting as a link between households, shops, and businesses through communication and the distribution of goods.
Other postal services during the Covid pandemic included the facilitation of purchases and sales both within Laos and internationally, with these services becoming indispensable for the delivery of packages containing food, medicines, and medical supplies.
In pursuing a digital economy, many businesses have to rely on postal services, such as logistics and e-commerce, for receiving, delivering, and distributing goods domestically and internationally.
In 2022, there were 990 post office boxes around the country and 43 businesses offering postal services. Compared to last year, there are 11 more postal service providers with connections to regional and global networks, which have paid more than 12 billion kip in taxes.