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400k Nepal Telecom subscribers switch to 4G network

According to Nepal Telecom, 90,000 postpaid and 310,000 prepaid subscribers have switched to the 4G network

Kathmandu, February 17, 2017: The 4G service launched by Nepal Telecom (NT) has received an overwhelming response with 400,000 subscribers in Kathmandu and Pokhara upgrading to the network so far.

The state-run telecommunications service provider opened the pilot phase of 4G (fourth generation) service in the Kathmandu Valley and limited areas in Pokhara for postpaid users at the beginning of the year. The service was made available to prepaid service users from the first week of February.

According to NT, 90,000 postpaid subscribers and 310,000 prepaid subscribers have switched to the 4G network. Prepaid service subscribers, in particular, seem to be more attracted towards the newly launched service as it attracted a large number of users in just 10 days.

“The growth in the number of users so far has been impressive. It shows growing use and interest in data among the general public,” said Shobhan Adhikari, assistant spokesperson for NT. “We are planning to provide full-fledged services in Kathmandu and Pokhara soon.”

Meanwhile, NT has been making preparations to expand the service to sub-metropolitan cities and 15 municipalities across the country. The company is in the final stage of issuing bids to procure the necessary equipment including base transceiver station (BTS) towers.

“We launched 4G service in Kathmandu and Pokhara by mostly optimizing the existing technical and physical infrastructure,” Adhikari said. “For the expansion of services outside Kathmandu, we need to get new equipment.” He added that its network had to be redesigned to expand 4G service in major cities across the country.

NT upgraded 308 of its BTS towers in the Kathmandu Valley and 25 stations in Pokhara to launch 4G service. The revamped network allows consumers to use data at speeds of up to 32.4 Mbps, which NT aims to gradually increase to 100 Mbps. NT has already sought additional 5 Mhz bandwidth to increase speed and expand service.

Currently, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), telecommunications service regulator, has authorised NT to provide 4G service with a bandwidth of 5 Mhz from the 1800 Mhz frequency band.

The increasing use of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, among others, and the growing use of platforms like Viber, WhatsApp and Messenger to communicate with friends and family has increased the use of the internet in the country. The swelling dependency on data has prompted people to look for fast and reliable data service.

NT is one of the prominent telecommunications service providers in the country with 13.53 million GSM subscribers, the latest Management Information System data of NTA shows.

According to the report, the company has 7.5 million internet service users using GPRS, EDGE and WCDMA technologies.

There are 13.74 million internet service subscribers using these technologies across the country.

By Sanjeev Giri