Nepal Telecom (NT) signed an agreement with ZTE –a Chinese firm and Chinese Communications Services International (CCSI) of Hong Kong to grow its 4G service across the nation. NT stated that the two firms have been given the contract for the development of necessary core network and radio access network for the growth of 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) service of the telecom firm. With this agreement signed, Nepal Telecom’s 4G expansion plan is likely to set-up pace.
The agreement to Nepal Telecom’s 4G expansion plan was signed between NT’s Dilli Ram Adhikari, Managing Director and representatives from ZTE and CCSI. As per Nepal Telecom, “Under this agreement, the contractor will have to develop one core network and two radio access networks. The main core network will remain in Kathmandu and Butwal”.
The core network and radio access network will be developed in a manner whereby it can cater 4G service to 6.5 Million subscribers. As per the agreement, ZTE and CCSI will have to complete the abovementioned project within 3rd February, 2020.
The 4G service was introduced back in January 2017 in Nepal. Nepal Telecom became the first company in the nation to roll out the service. However, it has not been able to expand the service beyond Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), launched a probe into the 4G equipment procurement process in February suspecting financial irregularities. However, CIAA in October last year had directed the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to expedite the 4G expansion plan of NT by taking necessary legal steps. This had provided momentum to NT’s 4G expansion plan which had been stalled since long.
Before the CIAA launched its investigation, NT had invited bids from international companies to expand 4G service across the country. There are around 1.86 million 4G subscribers in Nepal. Of these, 1.19 million are using Ncell’s service. 621,023 have subscribed to NT’s service and 43,887 are using Smart Telecom’s service.
NT’s 4G service is limited to only Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara while Ncell has already expanded its 4G service to major cities across the country.
Reference: The Himalayan Times