Bitel - a symbol of Vietnam-Peru cooperation

Wednesday, 2016-11-23 11:26:41
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Peruvian schoolchildren have benefited from Bitel's free internet service.
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NDO - After two years in operation, Bitel, a mobile operator in Peru owned by Viettel, has reached 2.8 million subscribers and is already making a profit. The company has also become a bridge of cultural and economic cooperation between Vietnam and Peru.

In a meeting with Viettel Peru staff as part of his visit to Peru to attend the 24th APEC Summit, President Tran Dai Quang said that Bitel was a highlight of overseas investment by Vietnamese enterprises.

Peru’s total land area is 1.2 million square kilometres, four times larger than that of Vietnam, but its population is just under 31 million. Peru’s natural landscape is complex and is divided into three regions: deserts in the west, the Andean highlands and the Amazon jungle. Among countries where Viettel has a presence, Peru is more economically developed than Vietnam with a GDP per capita three times larger than Vietnam. As such Viettel considers this as a challenge to test its aptitude, and if successful, the company will expand to other developed markets in Europe and Latin America.

Bitel is the fourth largest mobile operator in Peru. Prior to Bitel, there were already three operators with significant resources. Mindful of the difficulty when investing in the South American country, staff members of Viettel Peru have made great efforts to carry out the project. Its investment totals US$372 million, compared with more than US$1 billion by other operators.

After two years in Peru, Viettel’s current revenues have reached a monthly average of nearly US$15 million. Revenue growth in the first half of 2016 was twice the figure during the same period in 2015 while revenues from 3G services also increased by more than four times. Bitel’s subscription growth is 41%, more than five times the average growth of the telecommunications sector in Peru. The company currently has 2.8 million subscribers, all are 3G enabled.

Bitel began to make a profit in October, exactly two years after it was first put into operation; compared with usually four to five years for other companies. In the meantime, Entel, the third carrier to launch in Peru, is still making a loss after ten years.

Bitel has the largest network of optical fibre with 25,000 kilometres of cables and the second largest wireless coverage with 3,500 cellphone towers. Bitel is the only operator in Peru to skip 2G to provide 3G services right from the beginning and is currently preparing to launch 4G services. Bitel has also been rated as the best internet service provider in Peru. To support Peru’s hosting of the APEC Summit, Viettel Peru completed the installation of nearly 1,500 4G base stations in just 20 days, ensuring that the Peruvian capital of Lima is entirely covered with high-speed 4G services.

Viettel Peru is also a socially responsible enterprise with many community support activities such as providing free internet access to 4,500 schools where nearly one million pupils are attending. Bitel is the only telecommunications firm in Peru to provide this benefit. Bitel also offers free services to healthcare facilities and local authorities. Viettel Peru is employing 1,600 people and creating jobs for another 10,000 people indirectly. Viettel Peru currently has a staff of 100 Vietnamese employees who hold key management roles or who are technical experts, while the rest of the positions in the company are occupied by Peruvians.

Bitel has become a bridge for cultural and economic cooperation between Vietnam and Peru. When Bitel is mentioned, Peruvians think of Vietnam. Bitel has the love of local residents because of its contributions to bringing high-speed internet to remote areas, and is highly valued by the Peruvian government for its widespread optical fibre network. Bitel has initiated a revolution in pricing, helping local residents enjoy high-quality telecommunications services at affordable prices, helping to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas that other carriers failed to do years ago.