Shekhar Regmi

Biratnagar, March 29:

Consumers in the eastern region of the country have urged the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) to make the prepaid mobile service available in the region again.

The NTC Biratnagar branch, which is supposed to distribute SIM cards for this service in the eastern region, however, said the service had been stopped because NTC has already reached its capacity for the service.Devanaryan Yadav, chief to NTC Biratnagar branch said, "Since the capacity for prepaid mobile phone service has been exhausted, we can not provide the service anymore." "NTC is expanding prepaid lines," he added, "After some time, we are sure of providing such connection again."Earlier, the NTC Biratnagar branch had distributed 3,000 SIM cards for prepaid mobile service. However, cards for the postpaid service are still available. Till now 2,000 lines of postpaid service have been distributed.

The popularity of prepaid mobile service has increased in the region in recent days. But the halt in its distribution has upset the consumers. Consumers have to be in queue to get the cards. On top of this, it is not sure when NTC will begin to distribute the cards again.

"Around 100 consumers apply daily for the prepaid mobile service," said an employee at the NTC Biratnagar branch. Prepaid mobile is popular among businessmen, officers, doctors, teachers, journalists, advocates, professors, social workers and even among students. Santosh Chaulagain of Biratnagar-6, who is in the waiting list of NTC for getting the service, said, "The service should be provided as soon as possible." According to NTC statistics, consumers, who are in queue, are mostly students and retailers. From the Biratnagar branch of NTC, consumers even from Dharan, Jhapa and Rajbiraj have been taking the service. NTC anticipates a further demand for 5,000 lines of prepaid service in Biratnagar."NTC should provide the service from other parts of the region besides Biratnagar," said Robin Ojha, a consumer.

Meanwhile, consumers in Tankisinuwari VDC of Morang district have to pay STD charges while making a call even within the district. It is due to the fact that 60 telephone lines out of the total 250 lines in the VDC come from Duhabi Exchange of NTC at Sunsari district.