Vietnamobile – Small but Mighty 

Vietnamobile is a joint venture between Hanoi Telecom and Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telecommunication. Initially, the company was licensed to launch and operate a CDMA mobile network due to the existing regulatory framework. However, this posed significant difficulties as there were limited handset options in a GSM-dominant market where consumers wanted to have new experiences quickly. Later, Vietnamobile applied for a network technology change and was granted a new license, this time for a GSM network. They successfully converted the technology from CDMA to GSM, and Vietnamobile became the fourth mobile operator after Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone. Vietnamobile is the only mobile network with foreign equity.  

The Challenges  

Vietnamobile faced a challenging market when it finally completed its conversion to GSM technology, as the three major operators had already captured over 90% of the mobile communication market. Additionally, the company struggled with a poor reputation due to a failed CDMA network, leading to negative customer perception. Furthermore, the lack of a robust policy framework hindered the foreign partner from introducing advanced mobile technology features that could have helped Vietnamobile better compete with its rivals.  

The Solution  

Vietnamobile retained Pioneer to help change stakeholders’ perceptions of its brand and offerings. Working closely with the CEO of Vietnamobile, who was recognized among industry peers as an expert with extensive international experience, Pioneer helped reposition the brand as innovative, customer-centered and value-driven.  

To deliver the new corporate narrative, Pioneer assisted the client’s CEO in increasing engagement with the media, particularly in the technology sector. Leveraging its close relationship with the top-tier media, Pioneer sought to position the CEO as a go-to expert regarding issues of importance to Vietnam’s ICT industry, such as floor pricing and mobile number portability. Pioneer provided regular strategic consultancy services in media and integrated marketing communications, including events, social media, and branding, to support Vietnamobile’s efforts to achieve its goals.  

The Results  

Vietnamobile has established itself as the fourth largest operator in Vietnam, with more than 10 million subscribers. The gap between Vietnamobile and its main competitors in terms of consumer and media perception has been significantly reduced. This has helped to gradually eliminate the negative impressions from the past and has strengthened Vietnamobile’s position as the best on-net mobile operator and data provider with nationwide network coverage. The company has received excellent customer feedback for its innovative promotion campaigns, which focus on putting the customer first. The company’s marketing campaigns have been a massive success, including original commercials directed by award-winning filmmaker Patrick Hughes.  

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