Nepal | July 15, 2020

NT’s 4G expansion plan gains momentum

ZTE, CCSI get contract to develop core and radio access network

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, February 3

The state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) today signed an agreement with the Chinese firm ZTE and China Communications Services International (CCSI) of Hong Kong to expand its 4G service across country.

Issuing a press statement today, NT informed that the two firms have been awarded the contract for the development
of necessary core network and radio access network for the expansion of 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) service of the telecom firm.

The agreement to this effect was signed between NT’s Managing Director Dilli Ram Adhikari and representatives from ZTE and CCSI.

“Under this agreement, the contractor will have to develop one core network and two radio access networks. The main
core network will remain in Kathmandu and Butwal,” as per Nepal Telecom.

Furthermore, NT officials said that the core network and radio access network will be developed in a manner whereby it can cater 4G service to 6.5 million subscribers. As per the agreement, ZTE and CCSI will have to complete the aforementioned project within February 3 next year.

Nepal Telecom introduced 4G service in January 2017, becoming the first telecom company in the country to roll out the service. However, it has not been able to expand the service beyond Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, as the
Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the corruption watchdog, launched a probe into the 4G equipment procurement process in February suspecting financial irregularities.

However, CIAA in October last year had directed the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to expedite the 4G expansion plan of NT by taking necessary legal steps. This had provided momentum to NT’s 4G expansion plan which had been stalled since long.

Before the CIAA launched its investigation, NT had invited bids from international companies to expand 4G service across the country. At the time it had issued two separate tender notices for procurement of base transceiver stations and the core network to facilitate 4G transmission. Although various international firms had submitted their bids, the process of handing over contracts was stalled due to the CIAA probe.

There are around 1.86 million 4G subscribers in Nepal. Of these, 1.19 million are using Ncell’s service, 621,023 have subscribed to NT’s service and 43,887 are using Smart Telecom’s service.

NT’s 4G service is limited to only Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara while Ncell has already expanded its 4G service to major cities across the country.

A version of this article appears in print on February 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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