Unitel - A symbol of fruitful Vietnam-Laos economic cooperation

by NDO26 January 2020 Last updated at 16:39 PM

Star Telecom's network operation and monitoring centre
Star Telecom's network operation and monitoring centre

VTV.vn - When it comes to telecommunications in Laos, most people will think of Unitel - a Star Telecom brand, which is a joint venture between Viettel of Vietnam and a Lao company.

Behind Unitel’s impressive feat of 3.3 million subscribers and a 56% share of the telecoms market in Laos is a long story of the sweat and brains of Uncle Ho’s soldiers who ventured into business in Vietnam’s neighbouring country.

Their efforts ranged from developing the telecoms network, building the sales network and approaching consumers by sending experts and working groups to remote and mountainous villages throughout Laos, to the boldness to embark with new enterprises in the field of technology in recent years.

Star Telecom’s General Director Luu Manh Ha said its strategy was developed based on accurate market assessments. According to Ha, determining that to have a strong company you must have a crop of skilful technical employees, the company leaders have paid special attention to the question of workforce. Star Telecom has established an office culture in agreement with Lao culture while inheriting part of Viettel’s office culture in Vietnam to create a modern and professional work environment.

Several projects undertaken by Star Telecom to support Laos’ socio-economic development and security in the age of technology include the provision of internet access to nearly 1,000 schools, the building of computer fonts for the Lao language, the participation in the Lao Ministry of Home Affairs’ household management project, the data centre project for the Lao Party Central Office, the document management project for the Prime Minister’s Office, the teleconferencing project for the Ministry of Defence, and the intranet project for the Ministry of Public Security.

Lao leaders have highly praised Star Telecom’s contributions, with Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith noting that the company is one of the largest taxpayers in Laos, helping the country develop the telecoms infrastructure as well as e-government projects.

With its significant contributions, Star Telecom was honoured with the first-class Isala (Freedom) Order and the first-class Phatthana (Development) Order by the Lao government, and the first-class Labour Order by the Vietnamese government.

The company leaders and employees have always endeavoured to sustain and build on its successes. It has not been easy to maintain its number one position in Laos amid the increasingly fierce competition in the telecoms market.

Ha said that since the telecoms market is now saturated, it is very important to retain customers. The company’s strategy in the time ahead will be to ensure the quality of its telecoms network and customer service, to carry on the community values that it has successfully created in order to continue to satisfy customers.

Along with adding the frequency resources, expanding the network, upgrading infrastructure and applying technical inventions, Star Telecom also launched a network optimisation strategy. As a result, by 2019 Star Telecom earned the badge for having the fastest and most reliable speeds in Laos, far outstripping other competitors, as confirmed by Ookla, an internet testing and analysis company.

In 2019 Star Telecom affirmed its position with a wide range of pioneering or exclusive services in Laos such as embedded SIM and the U-Money electronic wallet. The company also plans to roll out 5G services in January 2020.

Aiming to sustain its status as the leader in the Lao telecoms market, Star Telecom is making a strong investment in and is pushing itself towards digital services and digital transformation by employing advanced technologies such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence and big data, which come at the core of the fourth industrial revolution.

With a network of 8,000 cellular towers and 30,000 kilometres of optic cables, Star Telecom has all provinces and cities of Laos covered by broadband internet access and wireless communications. The company also possesses a retail network from the capital city of Vientiane to far-flung villages. It is hoped that with determination of the company leaders and employees, Star Telecom will continue to record new achievements in Laos, to become a beautiful flower in the garden of Vietnam-Laos friendship, as per the words of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc when he visited the company in February 2018.

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