Ncell announces investment of $120 million

Kathmandu, May 9

Ncell Pvt Ltd (Ncell) has announced that it is committed to spend approximately $120 million (approximately Rs 12 billion) for the development of telecommunications infrastructure in the country this year, making this the largest capital expenditure (capex) spending undertaken by the company on record.

“We will be investing around $120 million for the remainder of 2016. We will focus the investment in Nepal where it matters — building telecommunications infrastructure for better network and quality coverage, in our aim to serve the people of Nepal for the longer-term,” the media release issued today quoted Simon Perkins, managing director of Ncell, as saying.

Under the investment plan, Ncell will be expanding its footprint into remote and rural areas, aiming to bolster connectivity and create opportunities for underserved communities in those regions, aside from enhancing network capacity in cities to deliver high-speed internet.

Presently, Ncell delivers data speed of up to 21mbps in the Valley and the Everest region. The company plans to gradually modernise its network in other cities out of the Valley as well.

“We will go out aggressively in the deployment of our 3G and high speed expansion in rural and remote areas. Our plan is to set-up and establish 218 new sites to reach out to new towns and village development committees this year,” the release further quoted Perkins as saying.

In addition, 214 new sites will be built to address coverage gaps in regions where Ncell is also present. Ncell presently offers 3G connectivity in 63 districts.

Ncell will also spend a sizeable amount of the investment in building quake-resistant data centres in the Kathmandu Valley, which lies in highly sensitive earthquake-prone zone. Ncell presently has data centres in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Hetauda and Biratnagar, of which data centres in Pokhara and Hetauda are containerised, and able to withstand high magnitude of earthquake and fire, enabling operations to be activated within an hour, even in worst-case scenarios.

Ncell is also eager to launch 4G services and has requested permissions to provide 4G services in the country. “We are awaiting a positive decision from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, and are hopeful it will come soon,” said Perkins, reiterating Ncell’s commitment to continue to bring multiple benefits to the lives of its more than 13 million customers. The firm has been contributing in various fields of Nepali society, having announced it will contribute Rs one billion to support quake victims.