11,000 handsets legally enter market daily

Kathmandu, September 20

More than 11,000 mobile phone handsets come to Nepal through the legal channel every day on an average, the statistics of Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) show.

According to the record maintained by the telecommunications regulator, 1.7 million mobile phones have been registered with it in the last five months after phone registration was made mandatory for importers. Breakdown of the five months’ figure shows that 340,000 mobile phones are being imported monthly in Nepal and more than 11,000 phones in a day.

NTA had made registration of new mobile phones mandatory for domestic mobile dealers and individual importers from April 13. Under this provision, mobile dealers and individual importers have to register the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number or Electronic Serial Number (ESN) or Mobile Equipment Identifier (MEID) of every mobile set they import. Such provision was introduced to control the growing grey market of mobile phones in the country.

“After the provision was implemented from April 13, more than 300,000 mobile phones have been registered with NTA in a month on an average,” NTA Spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal said, adding that IMEI number of more than 1.7 million mobile phones have been registered in the last five months.

According to Aryal, the mobile registration figure will increase further once access to register the phones is expanded. For the same, NTA is developing an application that enables importers, both dealers and individuals, to register their phones through the app itself.

As of now, importers are registering IMEI number of mobile sets through fax, NTA website, by visiting NTA office or through e-mail.

Mobile dealers say that Nepal is a growing market for mobile phones, and thus, demand of mobile handsets will likely increase in the days to come. Moreover, increasing number of new mobile brands in the market proves the potential of mobile phone trade in the country.

In a span of less than two weeks, two Chinese mobile brands — OPPO and Meizu — have debuted in the Nepali market. Similarly, another Chinese brand ZTE forayed in Nepal a month ago.

“Information and technology (IT) sector is growing in Nepal, resulting in growth of demand for mobile phones and other gadgets,” said Bishal Aacharya, managing director of Evolution Enterprises, the authorised distributor of ZTE mobile phones for Nepal, adding that more players are entering the mobile phone business in Nepal seeing wider prospects.

Aacharya informed that more than four million mobile phones were imported in 2015 as per the NTA record. “This figure is sure to go up this year,” he added.