Print Edition - 2016-10-24 | MONEY
NTA allows NT to launch 4G service
Oct 24, 2016-
Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has authorised state-run Nepal Telecom (NT) to launch 4G service in Kathmandu and Pokhara from January 1, 2017.
The country’s telecom sector regulator approved NT’s 4G plan on Friday, according to NTA Chairman Digambar Jha. “In the plan submitted to NTA in the second week of October, NT had sought permission for commercial launch of 4G service in Kathmandu and Pokhara within two months,” said Jha.
“So, we awarded the license accordingly. We have drafted an approval letter and are in the process of dispatching it to NT.”
NT has said it has already made technical evaluations and is ready to roll out 4G service in high data-consuming cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara from the beginning of 2017. “Initially, we will slightly upgrade our equipment and software, which will be enough to launch the service in Kathmandu and Pokhara,” said NT Spokesperson Pratibha Vaidya. “We will then gradually expand the service throughout the country.”
NTA has allowed NT to upgrade its service to 4G under a “technology neutrality policy”. Under the policy, an operator can start 4G service using the existing frequency of 1800 Mhz band. NT currently offers 3G service using this bandwidth.
Although the introduction of 4G was expected to reduce tariff for voice and data services, a source at NT said that may not happen.
“When we look at international practice, some operators have levied premium on 4G service, whereas some have offered it at lower prices,” said the source.
“NT’s business team is currently doing homework to fix the tariff. I think the cost of 4G service will be similar to that of 3G service.”
Once 4G is launched, NT subscribers will be able to enjoy faster and higher quality data transfer services. They can download and upload high-definition videos, conduct video conferencing without encountering many glitches, watch 3D television and high-definition mobile TV, and play 3D games, among others.
While NTA has awarded the 4G license to NT, it is yet to extend the permission to privately-owned Ncell. Both NT and Ncell had filed applications at NTA in July, seeking permission to start 4G service from the existing frequency of 1800 Mhz.
According to highly-placed NTA sources, the regulator is reluctant to award the licence to Ncell due to the ongoing capital gains tax case.
“As the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has directed government agencies not to award any kind of licence to Ncell before the capital gains tax issue is settled, we have not initiated the process,” said the source.
Published: 24-10-2016 09:59