Compared to earnings, the cost of 3G in Vietnam is substantially higher than in Cambodia and Laos.
Charges for 3G broadband access in Vietnam are among the highest in Southeast Asia, standing at fourth-highest among eleven countries surveyed recently by Techinasia, an online platform for Asia’s tech community.
The survey was based on the cost of 1GB of data and average hourly wages, to determine the number of hours that must be worked to pay for the 1GB.
It was found that a Vietnamese person earning the average of $0.59 an hour must work six hours and four minutes to pay the $3.58 for 1GB of data in the country. While incomes in Vietnam are comparable to many regional countries the cost of 3G is much higher.
Cambodians, by comparison, earn a little more than Vietnamese but 3G costs are much cheaper, at $1.50 for 1G, meaning they only have to work two hours and 16 minutes while in Laos the higher cost of $4.11 is much more affordable on an average hourly rate of $0.84 than in Vietnam, with only four hours and 53 minutes of work required.
Although the cost of 3G in Brunei and Singapore is double or even triple than in other regional countries, at $7.09 and $7.11, respectively, earnings of three to ten times higher make them the two cheapest countries for accessing 3G, with only one hour and four minutes and one hour and 46 minutes of work, respectively, required to cover the cost of 1GB of data.
Workers in East Timor and the Philippines, meanwhile, are among the lowest paid in the region and 3G costs of $10 and $7.10, respectively, make them the two most expensive countries for broadband internet access. East Timorese must work 16 hours and 40 minutes hours to cover the cost of 1G of data, while Filipinos must work ten hours and 17 minutes.
There were nearly 30 million 3G subscribers in Vietnam in 2015, up some 30 per cent against 2014. There are four 3G providers in the country - Viettel, MobiFone, Vinaphone, and Vietnammobile - which offer a range of different packages at roughly similar prices. Vietnam expects to see 4G this year, with Viettel, MobiFone and Vinaphone conducting 4G test runs following the recent approval from the Ministry of Information and Communications.