The telecommunication sector has been one of the fastest evolving sectors in the world. This has led to the production of a host of communication facilities ranging from telephone, Internet and mobile services including the satellite phones. Although the Internet and mobile users are growing, the telephone has been the primary form of communication across the Himalayan terrain. The Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), the state-owned communications utility, however, has not been able to live up to the peopleâ€™s expectations in terms of the services it is expected to provide. Acquisition of a landline telephone connection, for example, takes over two years. This is so even after the Corporation claims to have expedited the procedures. In this age of globalisation, the need for efficient communication is greater than ever before. It directly or indirectly impacts business and countryâ€™s development. There is, hence, no alternative to efficient communication system.
The NTC has been anything but efficient in meeting the growing demands for telecommunications services. Once acquired after endless wait, the landlines are quite reliable. Mobile connections are easier but the mobile users are not entirely happy with the quality of service they are getting. Subscribers complain about abrupt disconnections and difficulty to reach to other users. Because the NTC is the only mobile service provider in town, there is little disagreement over the issue that the Corporation enjoys unbridled monopoly in the sector. New players are bound to enter the market to plug the void. The Supreme Court has in the meantime stayed the launch of the India-based United Telecom Limited (UTL) mobile service, the only other corporate body granted permission to launch a Wireless Local Loop service. There is no recourse to getting a clean chit by the UTL from the tax department.
As all telephone and mobile users are customers, the Corporation must ensure that it can satisfactorily cater to the users. Much also remains to be done to ensure easier acquisition of telephone lines by the ordinary people. Upgrading the mobile utility and other communication services would certainly expand the NTCâ€™s corporate horizon too. That the network is busy with a mere 100,000 users when there is a scope of luring several million people to use mobile phones is disconcerting to say the least. A serious competitor would perhaps nudge the NTC to revamp its services and tap the telecommunication market. It is a simple math that more lines to customers means increased revenue for the NTC. It is time the Corporation combines experience with efficiency to meet the new challenges at hand.