Himalayan News Service
KATHMANDU: Nepal is lagging behind with a huge gap in the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) targeted at increasing teledensity.
At present Nepal's total teledensity stands at near about 27 per cent while the MDG targets to achieve 55 per cent teledensity in its three years interim plan for the year 2010-11.
Though, Nepal had planned to increase its teledensity to 21 per cent by the end of 2009, it is yet to be achieved. The country's teledensity stands at 18.5 per cent, the lowest in the South Asia.
The urban teledensity of India has been rising consistently for last five years.
The urban teledensity was 85 per cent as of March 2009 and the recent reports shows that India has reached the 100 per cent landmark of urban teledensity. The main reason behind reaching this landmark is fight of price war between different service providers, which eventually brought the price to that level, which is in reach of everyone living in urban areas. India has last week auctioned 3G also.
While in Sri Lanka, the teledensity stands at 21.5, Pakistan saw a teledensity of 60.6 by mid 2009, the smallest of the SAARC nations Maldives saw a teledensity of 25 in 2002 when India had a teledensity of five.
Nepal Telecom is expecting a growth of 8.9 million subscribers in the next three years; currently they have 5.1 million subscribers.
Ncell on the other hand claims to have more than 1.8 million subscribers in Nepal; the most recent figures show that the network now covers about 60 per cent of the population and around 22 per cent of the total geographical area.
Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd was established in 2004 to provide mobile telecommunications services. On September 17, 2005 the company got its commercial launch at Kathmandu and Vicinity while, TeliaSonera acquired controlling interest in October 2008.
The company has more than 2.2 million subscriptions with approximately coverage of 62 per cent of population.
The net sale of the company is Rs 6.9 billion and investments of Rs 5.3 billion. The company is the second largest tax payer in Nepal that is at Rs 3.2 billion. As of March 12, 2010, Spice Nepal operates under the brand Ncell.
Spice Nepal / Ncell is part of TeliaSonera, the fifth largest telecommunication company in Europe in terms of market value as of January 2010.
TeliaSonera provides telecommunication services in the Nordic and Baltic countries, the emerging markets of Eurasia, including Russia and Turkey, and in Spain.
The number of Subscriptions in 2009 reached over 147.6 million and had net sales amounted to $14.3 billion along with around 30,000 employees.