NT’s 4G expansion to gather momentum

Kathmandu, September 30

The state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) is all set to launch its 4G service beyond Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara from Wednesday.

Dilli Adhikari, managing director of NT, informed that necessary groundwork, including test transmission of the high-speed internet service across major cities is currently underway.

“We are still conducting the test transmission of 4G service in different cities. Hopefully, we will get the report by today evening,” he informed, adding that the company plans to launch the service across at least 20 major cities simultaneously on Wednesday.

If the test transmission across all targeted areas is successful, Adhikari said that NT plans to expand the 4G service to more than 30 major cities on Wednesday itself. “In the second phase, we will expand the 4G service covering all major cities in the country,” he said.

Initially, NT plans to launch the high-speed internet service in cities, including Damak, Birtamod, Dharan, Biratnagar, Itahari, Janakpur, Birgunj, Hetauda, Bharatpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj and Dhangadi on Wednesday.

NT officials informed that the maximum internet speed of 4G during test transmission was recorded at 245Mb.

However, NT’s subscribers will have to switch to U-SIM to avail its 4G service. NT has already ensured the availability of U-SIM across places where the 4G service is being launched. Subscribers of old SIM cards can exchange the new U-SIM free of cost.

As per NT, over 6.5 million subscribers of NT could benefit from the new 4G expansion plan. Along with the expansion of 4G service, NT expects to strengthen its position in the data market.

NT had inked different agreements with China-based ZTE Corporation and CCSI of Hong Kong to develop core network and radio network required for the 4G expansion in the country.

Chinese firm ZTE, which had been awarded the work to expand core network under the 4G expansion project, has almost completed its work. Core network is a mechanism that connects base transceiver stations of the telecom company. Moreover, NT has already test transmitted its core network system on Saturday.

Meanwhile, China Communication Service International (CCSI) has been undertaking the Radio Access Network (RAN) expansion under NT’s 4G expansion project. CCSI is undertaking RAN works in coordination with Huawei.

NT introduced 4G 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 outside Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, as the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority launched a probe into the 4G equipment procurement process in February last year, suspecting financial irregularities.

As per Nepal Telecommunications Authority, NT’s 4G subscribers have reached 800,000 while Ncell’s subscribers of this service have crossed 2.9 million.

NT is injecting almost Rs 19 billion to expand 4G service across the country.