NT launches 4G mobile service

- BIBEK SUBEDI, Kathmandu

Jan 2, 2017-

The state-run Nepal Telecom launched the fourth generation (4G) mobile service in Kathmandu and Pokhara valleys on Sunday, offering faster and higher quality data transfer service to its subscribers.

Information and Communications Minister Surendra Kumar Karki inaugurated the latest mobile telephone technology after eight years of its global launch, amid a ceremony in Kathmandu. 

The service, in its pilot phase, will be available in a majority of locations in Kathmandu Valley, and at Newroad and Phewa Lakeside in Pokhara.

NT has upgraded 308 of its base transceiver stations in the Valley and 25 stations in Pokhara to operate the 4G network. Through them, 4G users can use data up to the speed of 32.4 Mbps. This speed would eventually be raised to 100 Mbps, according to the company.

“Currently, we are offering 4G service with a bandwidth of 5 Mhz from an 1800 Mhz frequency band,” said Ashok Thapa, director of wireless service at the NT. “We have asked for additional 5 Mhz bandwidth from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), the telecom sector regulator. Once we get it, we will increase the speed to 100 Mbps.”

With the launch of the new service, NT customers can upload and download high-definition videos at a greater speed, view HD mobile TV programmes, conduct video conferencing, and get better gaming experience. But initially only GSM post-paid users can enjoy the new service. They can dial *444# to gain access to the service, which would be made available to prepaid users within a month.

Currently, the NT is offering 4G service at the price of 3G, which is Re1 per MB of data. But it plans to reduce the tariff in the coming days.

The NTA has said the NT can introduce its own promotional tariff for a period of three months from the date of the soft launch of the service. NT Managing Director Kamini Rajbhandari said the 4G service would provide an amazing experience to users, as she pledged to enhance quality in the future.

“We take pride in becoming the first telecom company to provide the service to Nepali citizens,” said Rajbhandari.

The 4G service, however, is inaccessible to Apple devices powered by iOS, a mobile operating system created and developed by the US smartphone maker. This means users of iPhone and iPad will not be able to use 4G service for the time being. Telecom operators all around the world must sign an agreement with Apple to enable their customers to use devices such as iPhone and iPad on their networks. NT is yet to enter into a deal with Apple.

The agreement basically allows a telecom company to synchronise its network with Apple devices that run on iOS, permitting iPhone and iPad users to access 4G service on its network.

“We have already requested the American smartphone maker to enable the ‘location code’,” said Thapa.

Published: 02-01-2017 07:23

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