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The Vietnam News

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Vietnam to launch 1st satellite

HANOI — Vietnam is preparing to launch its first satellite, hoping to improve the country's telecommunications to keep pace with its rapid economic development, officials said Wednesday.

Vinasat No. 1 is scheduled to be launched April 12 from Kourou spaceport in South America, and will be ready for use in May, Nguyen Ba Thuoc, vice general director of state-owned Vietnam Post and Telecommunication Corp., or VNPT, told reporters. The $200 million satellite, which has a medium transmission capacity, will help make Internet and television accessible nationwide, Thuoc said. "Vietnam has reached the point where significant improvements of the telecommunication infrastructure are needed for its economic and social development," said Thuoc. Better telecommunications would bring more investment into the country, he said.

Currently, businesses and the Vietnamese government are renting satellites from Australia, Thailand and Russia. Vietnam's economy has grown at an average annual rate of more than 7 percent for the last 10 years. It has 19 million Internet users, and more than 40 million telephones, according to government figures.

The Associated Press - March 12, 2008.

Vietnam to launch first telecoms satellite in April

HANOI - Vietnam, which has seen demand for telecommunications surge by about 30 percent each year, will launch its first satellite in April as part of efforts to reduce its reliance on the leasing of foreign satellites.

VINASAT-I is scheduled to be launched into orbit on April 12 in French Guiana by European firm ArianeSpace, state-run Vietnam Posts and Telecommunication Group (VNPT) said on Wednesday. The $200-million VINASAT-I, built by Lockheed Martin (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research), will have a life span of 15 to 20 years, VNPT Vice General Director Nguyen Ba Thuoc said at a press conference in Hanoi. "Vietnam will be more active to improve network capability and quality of telecommunication, IT and communication services and to reduce the gap between cities and rural areas," he said. VINASAT-I has a transmission capacity of 10,000 voice/Internet/Data channels or 120 television channels, VNPT said.

Demand for telecommunication services is rising fast, along with annual GDP growth of more than 8 percent, in the communist-ruled Southeast Asian country. About 19 million people out of a population of 85 million subscribed to Internet services by the end of 2007, up nearly 30 percent from 2006 and mobile phone use is common countrywide.

By Nguyen Nhat Lam - Reuters - March 12, 2008.