Experts have doubts that the application of new technologies would not be able to revive S-Fone.
The defeat of S-Fone on the Vietnamese market has been attributed to the application of CDMA, the technology which is unsuitable in Vietnam. Especially, when using S-Fone services with CDMA technology, people have to use the terminals fitting the technology. Meanwhile, the available products are not diversified on the amrekt.
Experts have also pointed out that the limitations of the BCC (business cooperation contract) mode have led to the poor business performance of the mobile network.
As the Saigon Postel (SPT), which owns S-Fone, has shifted S-Fone into a joint venture since late 2010, it now can take initiative in choosing the business mode and technologies itself.
Sources have said that S-Fone is considering declaring the death of CDMA and shift to use more advanced technologies.
However, Hoang Ngoc Diep, former Indochina Qualcomm Director, who has been working as the advisor to the telecom industry, said that the death of S-Fone, if it occurs, would not be caused by the technology, but the bad corporate governance.
“You can easily blame the technology, because it cannot speak. It is also unreasonable to blame terminals. CDMA still can develop well in India, Indonesia, China and African countries. Why can’t it develop in Vietnam?” Diep questioned.
Diep went on to say that it is necessary to find out the real reasons of the failure and fix the problems. The problem does not lie in the investment partner, but in the vision, business strategy and the management of the leadership.
Also according to Diep, even if S-Fone uses HSPA (3G) technology like the other big networks, it would not be able to compete with Viettel, MobiFone or VinaPhone. Even Hutchison Telecom, one of the leading telecom groups in the world with powerful financial and technology capabilities, has been facing big difficulties with its Vietnamobile network in Vietnam which has also shifted from CDMA to GSM technology.
The thing that S-Fone needs to do now not simply using another technology, but finding a leadership which can create differences to acquire the market segments that have not been conquered by others.
Besides, it needs to have huge capital to implement the plan on creating the differences. One of the ways out, according to Diep, is to focus on satisfying the specific demands of institutions and businesses, the demand for M2M (machine to machine) connection – the fields that others have not jumped into.
When asked by Thoi bao Kinh te Vietnam about the technology to be used in the future, Pham Tien Thinh, Managing Director of CDMA S-Telecom mobile phone center, said that the choosing would depend on many factors, including the market factors, the demand of the domestic users, the development of the technology in the regional and the world, and the prices of terminals.
However, he said, the involved parties will certainly discuss about the technologies to be used, because the 850 Mhz waveband, which is being used by S-Fone, has many great technological advantages, which allow to implement most of the mobile information services, from CDMA to WCDMA/HPSA+ and LTE as well.
Besides, with the waveband, S-Fone would need less base transceiver stations to cover an area than the mobile networks operating on other wavebands.
The comments on telecommunication forums showed the common viewpoint of many people that technology would not be the way out for S-Fone. The mobile network has spent too much money to develop the CDMA-based network. Meanwhile, it is now too late to shift to GSM technology, because there are many mobile networks utilizing that technology already.