NT’s cell phone high on demand

Kathmandu, May 2:

More than 2,50,000 consumers are in waiting list to get GSM cellular mobile connections provided by the incumbent operator — Nepal Telecom (NT).

Among them, most are in the waiting list for pre-paid mobile phones and 50,000 are in the Kathmandu Valley alone, said Lok Raj Sharma, director at NT Mobile Services Directorate.

Although NT has been aggressive in expanding its network as well as customer base, the popularity of its pre-paid mobile phone service is very high and so is the demand, Sharma said, adding that a system optimisation process is underway with a view to provide on-demand mobile pho-ne connection by June -end.

NT has not distributed any new mobile connections since last September in the Valley and the total lines distributed so far has crossed 1.6 million with GSM mobile network coverage in 72 districts. NT has already announced its new plan to distribute additional 3.5 million mobiles phones and increase CDMA lines to two million consumers.

According to Sharma, majority of the new GSM lines will be pre-paid mobile phones, which is very popular and high on demand amongst the users. The additional CDMA lines will mostly be distributed in hilly regions to better serve rural areas and rural populace. He further said the coverage of GSM mobile network would be soon expanded to three districts — Solukhumbu, Humla and Mugu as well as district headquarters of Okhaldhunga.

“Assessing the huge demand and popularity of CDMA and pre-paid mobile phones, we foresee the need of such a huge expansion plan,” he added. The new expansion plan will not only include the distribution of new lines but also accompanies other required infrastructure development.

Besides system optimisation, NT plans to build 625 new base transceiver stations (BTS) within the next six months. It has so far installed 667 BTS across the country. Of the proposed BTS installation, the Kathmandu valley will see 100 additional BTS, eastern region 150, central region 100, weste-rn region 200, mid-west region 60 and far western developme-nt region will see 15 new BTS.

Thanks to the aggressive expansion plan, Nepal’s target of having 15 telephone connections per 100 people by 2014 is to be met seven years earlier than the targeted time. “There will be more than 20 connections per 100 people.”

Unveiling Mission 2010 in its fourth anniversary in February, NT has already announced to distribute 20 lines per 100 people in the next three years.