Sales of 4G compatible smartphones booming

Kathmandu, June 9

As a result of different telecom companies launching 4G (fourth generation) telecom service in the country, domestic mobile dealers have recently witnessed brisk business of smartphones, especially of 4G compatible phones.

Officials of the Mobile Phone Importers’ Association (MPIA) — the umbrella organisation of mobile phone importers in the country — said that mobile dealers have been recording overwhelming sales and receiving a large number of queries

of 4G-compatible handsets in recent days.

“The mobile phone market in Nepal has been growing for several years, with annual growth of almost 20 per cent. With the launch of latest 4G telecom service in Nepal, the sales of mobile phones has gone up further, almost by 30 per cent,” Dipak Malhotra, president of MPIA, said.

According to Malhotra, the sales and queries related to 4G compatible smartphones have surged especially after a private telecom company launched the 4G service from June 1 simultaneously in the Kathmandu Valley, Nagarkot, Banepa and Dhulikhel.

“As Ncell has launched 4G services in a number of cities, sales and queries related to 4G compatible phones have surged in these cities,” he said.

Though the government-owned telecom company — Nepal Telecom — had launched the 4G service from January 1, it has limited the service only to Kathmandu Valley and some areas in Pokhara.

Meanwhile, another telecom company, Smart Telecom, is preparing to launch 4G service in the country from July 30 after acquiring permission from the telecom regulator — Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).

According to dealers, more than 60 per cent of smartphones available in the domestic market are compatible with 4G service.

Dealers have also said that gradual expansion of the 4G service all over the nation will likely increase sales of mobile sets accordingly. Though NTA’s report shows that mobile penetration has crossed 110 per cent mark, mobile dealers said that only around 70 per cent of the population in the country own cellphones till date.

According to MPIA, more than seven million mobile sets are imported in the country every year. The annual turnover of mobile phone market in Nepal ranges between Rs 22 billion to Rs 23 billion, as per the association.

In the meantime, dealers have criticised NTA for not effectively implementing its programmes to control the grey market of mobile sets in Nepal. According to them, NTA had earlier announced that mobile sets that are not registered with the government would be inoperable from May. “Since the decision has not been implemented yet, the earlier announcement seemed only aimed at putting unnecessary pressure on the mobile dealers,” they said.

On the other hand, NTA officials claimed they decided to extend the deadline considering that a large number of unregistered phones are being used in the market.

“We have given individuals using such unregistered phones until the end of this year to register their sets,” said Min Prasad Aryal, NTA spokesperson, adding the leniency was aimed at ensuring innocent consumers are not inconvenienced by their handsets suddenly becoming inoperable.