Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 21:

Despite earning a net profit of three billion rupees after reducing tax, Nepal Telecom (NT) does not plan to reduce the existing tariff rate. Ninety five per cent of the telecom market is still governed by NT and it is the sole organisation distributing cellular mobiles in the country.

“Private companies performance in the telecommunications sector has not been as expected. Private sector can not come in a big way which has been confined to Kathmandu,” said Sugat Ratna Kansakar, managing director of NT.

Kansakar was speaking at a talk programme on ‘telecommunications scenario in Nepal’, organised by Nepal Engineers Association, Association of Computer Engineers Nepal and Nepal Electricity Authority.

Cheaper and quality service from the private sector cannot be expected, he said. Today NT is using latest technologies and providing quality service, he claimed. As per the data of 2002, teledensity in Nepal is about 1.73 per cent. NT through the revised 10th plan is targetting to reach 1.1 million subscribers from the present 0.4 million. CDMA, GSM, broadband and GPRS telecommunications services are in the pipeline for NT.

“Nepal Telecom is taking steps to strengthen the organisation not merely for temporary gains but for long term improvements, making it one of the best-run enterprises in the nation. A reputed management consultant from The Netherlands has already been hired to make NT more efficient and business-focussed by introducing management and structural changes,” Kansakar said. At present about 60 per cent VDCs have telecommunications services and NT is planning to reach all VDCs of the country by the end of the 10th five-year plan, Kansakar informed.

Nepal has the cheapest local call rate in the whole world and NT is the first incumbent operator to introduce one single rate for cheap ‘budget calls’ to all countries of the world.

Speaking at the programme, Madan Kaji Shakya, director at the new service directorate said that the quality of mobile service is being improved. The demand for cellular mobile is very high but lack of infrastructure has held us back from distributing more connections. There are already 70 base stations operating and we are adding 10 more to increase the quality of service, he added.