Ncell warns of service disruption

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jan 20, 2016-

Ncell has gone into panic mode as its services can come to a grinding a halt in a few days if it doesn’t get adequate power to keep its equipment running. The telecom giant said its dedicated feeder line had been cut off by the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and its fuel supply from Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had dried up.

“We need power to keep our system running, and sadly it does not exist,” Ncell’s Chief Executive Officer Erim Taylanlar told the parliamentary Development Committee Tuesday. “We have enough fuel for three days after which we will have to switch off our service. We have lost our uninterrupted power service.”

The NEA had provided a dedicated feeder to Ncell after the April 25 earthquake to keep essential telecommunication services running during the emergency situation. Ncell said the dedicated feeder line went dead on January 8. Since then, the company has been relying on its diesel generators for power.

The NEA had apparently turned off the dedicated feeder after being criticized by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee for providing uninterrupted power to business enterprises when the general public was reeling under 15 hours of load-shedding daily.

According to Taylanlar, 13 million Ncell subscribers across the country will be affected if the network goes down. Moreover, the entire telecommunications sector will be hit as it will lead to massive congestion in the system of other service providers. Subscribers of other companies will also find their services curtailed as cross-network communication will not function.  

“We have already notified the Ministry of Information and Communication about our predicament. We seek support from all the stakeholders to keep our services functioning,” Taylanlar said.

Ncell said that they were in a precarious situation as loss of power will cripple the main data centre at Ekantakuna, Lalitpur. The company said life was hard enough as it is managing fuel to keep the BTS towers in operation. “A halt in Ncell services will also impact national security,” Taylanlar said.

Minister for Information and Communication Sher Dhan Rai said that the ministry was aware about Ncell’s problem and that it would act promptly. “We will take up the matter with the concerned agencies and line ministry to find a solution at the earliest possible,” Rai said.   

According to the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), Ncell had 13,162,446 subscribers as of mid-September 2015. Ncell shares the leading spot in telecommunications services with government-owned Nepal Telecom. The two companies each have a market share of 46 percent.  

Nepal Telecom seeks NTA nod for 4G

 Nepal Telecom (NT) said it would launch 4G service as soon as it receives the go-ahead from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).Speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary Development Committee on Tuesday, NT Managing Director Buddhi Prasad Acharya said they would offer 4G in the major cities where the people are ready to upgrade to the service, expand 3G services in all the districts having access to mobile telecommunication and scrap its 2G service.

“We want the NTA to respond to our request so that we can start the service right away,” Acharya said. According to Acharya, NT’s plan to improve its service quality has been stymied by lack of equipment as most of the imported items were stuck at customs offices due to the blockade and extra paperwork required by the Public Procurement Act.

“We need to compete with private players. However, we cannot procure equipment as fast as they can. This has impacted our quest to make the service quality better,” Acharya said.He added that the company was installing new BTS towers to revitalize the system which had been knocked out by the April 25 earthquake.

Published: 20-01-2016 09:10

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