Comvik pledges long-term investment in Vietnam

Vietnam’s mobile phone market has always been considered one of great potential in South-East Asia. Statistics show that by 2003, the number of mobile phone users in Vietnam accounted for only four percent of the population. With an aim to fully exploit the potential market, Comvik decided to choose Vietnam as a destination for its investment.
     Over the past years, Comvik provided large sums of investment for the VMS’s MobiFone network with US$142.8 million in 1995 and US$50 million more in 2001. In order to boost its long-term cooperation, Comvik and VMS signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2004, while agreeing to invest US$10 million more in the MobiFone network, bringing its total investment to US$202.8 million.
     Mai Liem Truc, Deputy Minister of Post and Telematics, said that he highly appreciated the cooperation between Comvik and VMS and hoped that the project would bring great benefits to the two parties in the coming time.
     As well as investment in network equipment, Comvik has focused on human resources development, considering it a decisive factor for the success of the company and has invested a total of US$6 million in this field. In 2003 alone, the company invested US$1.6 million in improving training for its cadres and managers in exploiting business and marketing networks. There have been 4,500 locally based training places and 400 overseas based training places organized so far.
     Efforts made by Comvik have helped boost the development of VMS. In the past, the company had a 6,400 digit switchboard with six broadcasting transmission sites in four localities including Ho Chi Minh City, Bien Hoa, Long Thanh and Vung Tau. MobiFone now has become a modern GSM network with seven switchboards and about 800 broadcasting transmission sites, serving about 1.5 million subscribers nationwide.
     With its advanced network, MobiFone has provided more than 30 added value services for its subscribers, including short message service (SMS), general packet radio service (GPRS), voice mail, fax-data, MobiFun, a roaming service with Vinaphone, and an international roaming service with more than 110 service providers in 50 countries.
     As well as providing GSM services, the company is piloting its Third Generation GSM project. MobiFone is one of the first mobile phone networks in the region to provide services based on GPRS and MMS (multimedia messaging). The company’s revenues have seen a rapid year-on-year increase, reaching VND 3,555 billion (US$226.433 million) in 2003. The company’s contribution to the State budget has reached VND 577 billion (US$36.751 million).
     Comvik has also paid careful attention to social activities in Vietnam. During her visit to Vietnam in February 2004, Cristina Stenbeck, on behalf of Kinnevik and Comvik, presented a US$300,000 cheque to representatives of the Hanoi People’s Committee for the restoration of the Temple of Literature. This money will be used for restoring Thai Hoc Duong and installing a new lighting system in the temple.
     Comvik also pledged to provide another US$300,000 for the building of Ngoc Kieu Bridge and the upgrading of the Duong Lam cultural and historical site in Son Tay. Furthermore, Comvik is the sponsor of charity programmes, song and dance performances, seminars and many other awards.
     According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, cooperation between Comvik and Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corporation is the largest and most effective project between Sweden and Vietnam.
     Over the past decade, Comvik has transferred capital, network management, experience and technology for VMS and has contributed to social activities in Vietnam. In recognition of contributions to Vietnamese post and telecommunications, the General Department of Post and Telecommunication (the Ministry of Post and Telematics today) presented in 2002 the ‘For the cause of Post’ medals for Jan Hugo Stanbeck, chairman of the Kinnevik corporation, Marc Jan Albert Beuls, chairman of the Millicom International Cellular SA under Kinnevik, Muhamed Akhtar Zaman, chairman of Comvik, and Simon Perkins, chief representative and chief executive officer of Comvik.
     In February, the Vietnam Economic Times presented Comvik with a Golden Dragon award for its success in telecommunications. At the ceremony, Simon Perkins said that he believed in the great potential of Vietnam’s mobile phone market.
     He added that Comvik had pledged long-term investment in Vietnam and would make further contributions to developing Vietnam’s telecommunication infrastructure.

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