Telecom equipment import surges by 48pc

Kathmandu, April 4

Along with domestic telecom companies aggressively working on service expansion and service upgrade, the import of telecommunication equipment has been surging of late.

According to the statistics of the first seven months of fiscal year 2016-17 maintained by Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC), import under ‘telecommunication and equipment’ has surged by 48 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. Nepal imported telecommunication equipment worth Rs 18.37 billion in the first seven months of the ongoing fiscal year against Rs 12.37 billion worth of telecommunication equipment imported during the same period last year.

Import figure of such telecommunication equipment in 2015-16 was Rs 23.72 billion.

“As a result of fierce competition in the domestic telecom sector, telecom operators have been obliged to expand as well as enhance their services,” said Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), adding that this expansion spree of telecom firms has contributed to the huge surge in import of telecommunication equipment.

As per NTA, imported telecommunication equipment range from base station equipment to power equipment and other technology upgrading equipment. “Telecom companies are working on different big telecommunication projects which also require a wide range of technology and equipment,” added Aryal.

Among the various projects, Nepal Telecom (NT), for instance, is running a project called Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) project, which requires a significant volume of high-tech equipment. Under this project, NT is replacing its old version of Time-Division Multiplexing switches used in different telecommunication services with the latest IP Multimedia Sub-system.

“A huge amount of technology and equipment are being imported for the TDM migration project,” Shovan Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for NT, said, adding that NT is focusing on quality enhancement by replacing its old technologies with new ones.

Similarly, NTA on September last year also authorised NT to expand the optical fibre network to 32 districts along the Mid-Hill (Pushpalal) Highway. According to Adhikari, NT is also importing different optical equipment for the project.

NT had also imported telecommunication equipment that were required to roll out 4G services from January 1.

Similarly, private telecom company NAME last year in May had announced it would invest Rs 12 billion focusing on network coverage expansion and quality enhancement, which has led to an increase in import of telecommunication parts and equipment.