UTL services kept on hold

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, February 8:

United Telecom Ltd (UTL) has clarified that it provides merely basic telephone services, based on wireless in local loop (WLL) technology, which for a user is no different from the one being provided by Nepal Telecom.

While the state-controlled Nepal Telecom has been allowed to resume all its operations, barring its mobile phone service, UTL services have been put on hold.

Following Royal proclamation on February 1, telecom and internet services have been suspended, except partial operation of domestic telephone services by Nepal Telecom, till Monday. People were much relieved on Tuesday, as Nepal Telecom and internet service providers resumed their services. The general relief however is not shared by United Telecom Ltd (UTL), an India-Nepal joint venture, that is the sole private player in the telecom sector in Nepal. UTL, a JV between India’s Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd and Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd with a Nepali partner Nepal Ventures Private Ltd, started providing telephone services in Kathmandu valley from September 2003, based on WLL- Code Division Multiplexing Access (CDMA) technology. According to company sources, UTL is providing basic telecom services consisting of local, STD and ISD calls to its customers with only fixed wireless terminals (FWTs), which has no mobility, unlike GSM mobile phones, state the company sources. “It the situation continues, we will be losing our customers who are greatly agitated as unlike the Nepal Telecom consumers, they have been completely cut off from telephone services,” said an official. UTL has 31,000 customers till date.

The worried UTL, which has been losing Rs 1.5 million daily since the communication disruptions started, on Tuesday put out an advertisement in the dailies asking its customers to understand its situation. UTL has been providing direct employment to 27 local people and over 100 others, indirectly.

The company has requested the government to reconsider its decision on suspending UTL services and urged it to treat UTL at par with Nepal Telecom.