Lao Telecom 4G LTE internet in service in 2014?

Update January 2014. The initial introduction of a 4G LTE service was short-lived, in fact it lasted for the 2 days of the November 2012 ASEM Conference. There still is no real confirmation of LTE in Vientiane or elsewhere in Laos. If you go, make local enquiries.

Update July, 2013 – Lao Telecom now expects 4G services to be launched in Vientiane within one month. 60 base stations will cover the urban area. It didn’t happen.

Update November, 2012: 4G LTE available in Vientiane from LaoTel and Beeline. Read post.

See all Lao 3G/4G mobile services and data plans.

On May 16, the Lao Ministry of Post and Telecommunications granted a commercial licence to VimpelCom for Beeline to provide a 4G LTE internet service in Laos, which they are now ready to offer to corporate and high-end customers in Vientiane. Costs have yet to be announced for the high speed (up to 5 times faster than 3G) data service.

A handset, tablet or USB modem will need 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz band capability for use with this 4G/LTE service. LTE 1800/2600 MHz devices produced in Hong Kong/Shenzhen are likely to be compatible while those intended for the US market or countries using the 700/2100 MHz bands, are not. South Korea (home of Samsung and LG), Singapore, the UK and some European operators use the 1800  and 2600 MHz bands. Devices are usually locked into a single network.

An unlocked quad band LTE USB air card/dongle modem such as the Huawei E392 sells for around $200 (1.6M kips). The Samsung Galaxy S II i9210 LTE phone and i957 8.9” tablet are about $750 (6M kips). Note that the Apple iPad 3 (sometimes promoted as 4G) will not work with Beeline LTE but it can still use HSPA+.

To avoid compatibility issues, Beeline Lao suggests that potential users wait for their service to be announced officially in the press, with data cost and suitable hardware recommendations.

As seen in the video below, results are impressive as Beeline continues testing their 4G/LTE service, with more than 50Mbps for download and over 10Mbps upload speeds and very low latency (ping speed). However, it was later alleged by various observers that these results can be achieved by manipulation by the provider and are/were not realistic, even at the time.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. To admin, recently I saw one user commented on Lao Telecom Facebook page regarding 4G LTE. He claimed that it was actually usable since the ASEM meeting, which leave me wondered as Lao telecom themselves hasn’t commercially marketed their 4g much. So with my desiring of high speed internet, I headed straight to their headquarters to buy a 4g simcard. And it actually did work. It was a net sim similar to the current 3g sim with slightly dimmer in colour ( dark yellow) and number start with 599…..

    They sell the 4g dongle for 1.000.000 but i didnt get my hand on it as i already have my 4g mifi from huawei. The 4g sim is currently oavailable only for dongle, so netsim, data only.

    The speed I think it was capped at a stable 10mbps for both doenload and upload. I counldnt get more than 10.

    For the coverage, as they said only 30 cell towers throughout Vientiane, but the coverage is very good. I could get full signal with 4g when my 3g from ETL and Beeline couldn’t. AS i say, i get consistent coverage from many places I go in Vientiane with consistent speed of 9-10mbps.

    For prices and package bundles, it’s pretty much the same as 3g. Only that it started with 100.000 kip for 10GB. 250.000 for unlimited ( with throttling i supposed) and 500.000k for 50GB. All are for 30 days validity. From my observation, the dial codes are exactly the same with 3g counterpart. Not sure if 5000 kip/day for 1GB is applicable. The access point name(apn) is also the same; “ltcnet”. However on my mifi modemn from huawei identified the signal as 4g, so presumably it’s LTE as HSPA+ was identified as 3g.

    So yes, 4G lte is usable in Vientiane dont know sincr when and it’s pretty fast despite was capped maximum speed.

    Sorry for any typo and incoherent, as I typed it from smartphone which the spaces are very small.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Hope others will see this and try for themselves.

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