Country’s telephone penetration crossed 100pc: Telecom regulator

Kathmandu, July 28

Country’s tele-density or telephone penetration has crossed 100 per cent mark. This has been revealed officially by the telecom regulator — Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) — through its latest management information system (MIS) report.

The MIS report shows that the penetration rate reached 101.4 per cent by mid-April, with total telephone subscription at 26.86 million. Increased network coverage of wireless mobile service made a major contribution in achieving the feat. Tele-density measures the percentage of a country’s population with access to telephony services as determined by the subscriber base.

“This means fixed phone and SIM distribution have exceeded the total population of the country, but it cannot be assumed that all people have access to telephone service,” said Achyuta Nanda Mishra, assistant spokesperson for NTA. He added that many customers are using more than one SIM card and have installed more than one fixed line.

The authority calculates the penetration rate every month based on the 26.49 million population (National Census 2011) and subscribers of six telecom companies. As per the MIS report, the country has 23.95 million subscribers in mobile service segment, two million in limited mobility and satellite phone, and 0.84 million in fixed line. Mobile service penetration rate stood at 90.4 per cent until mid-April.

Nepal Telecom (NT) and Ncell are the two major operators that have combined market share of over 90 per cent. State-owned NT has 12.46 million subscribers in its multiple services like GSM mobile, CDMA mobile and fixed landlines, while the country’s first private sector mobile operator Ncell has 12.27 million subscribers in GSM mobile service.

The four other operators — Smart Telecom, United Telecom Ltd (UTL), Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) and STM Telecom Sanchar — account for the remaining 2.13 million subscribers.

Out of the total subscribers, it is estimated that only around 75 per cent are active service users. To determine the active subscribers of telecom services, the telecom regulator is also preparing to conduct inspection and come up with a report. In this regard, a committee has already been formed under the coordination of Arjun Ghimire, deputy director of NTA.

Meanwhile, data penetration rate had reached 41.33 per cent by mid-April. According to the MIS report, there are 10.95 million data subscribers in the country, and out of them, 10.48 million are mobile internet users under GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA service segment.

In operator-wise subscribers base, NT has 6.21 million customers, Ncell has 4.46 million and internet service providers have combined user base of 120,196. Similarly, NST has 80,857 internet users, followed by 61,651 of UTL. STM Telecom has 13 data subscribers, according to NTA.