NT’s prepaid users to get 4G from Feb 4

- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu

Jan 19, 2017-

State-run Nepal Telecom (NT) is set to make fourth generation (4G) mobile service available to prepaid customers from February 4. The service is being inaugurated on the occasion of the telecom giant’s 13th anniversary.

It will be available to customers in Kathmandu and Pokhara initially, as NT is still conducting tests. The company is not sure when the service will be provided to Apple phone users. NT launched 4G service in the beginning of 2017.

“We are working hard to make sure that the pilot phase is extended to prepaid service users,” said Kamini Rajbhandari, managing director of Nepal Telecom. “The launch of 4G service has enthused customers, and we are keen to expand the service at the earliest possible.” 

According to Rajbhandari, around 42,000 NT postpaid subscribers have switched to the 4G network.

As for Apple phone users, the company’s managing director said that they had talked to Apple about the issue and expect it to be sorted out soon. Telecom operators around the world must sign an agreement with Apple to enable their customers to use devices such as iPhone and iPad on their networks. 

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 are hopeful about signing the agreement soon,” Rajbhandari said.

In order to switch to 4G service, NT has upgraded 308 of its Base Transceiver Station (BTS) towers in the Kathmandu Valley and 25 stations in Pokhara. This allows 4G subscribers to use data at speeds of up to 32.4 Mbps. According to NT, this speed will eventually be raised to 100 Mbps.

Currently, NT is offering 4G service with a bandwidth of 5 Mhz from 1800 Mhz frequency band. It has sought additional 5 Mhz bandwidth from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to increase the speed to 100 Mbps.

“Since we don’t need any additional infrastructure for powering the prepaid network to 4G, we are hopeful about completing the task on time,” said Prativa Vaidya, spokesperson for NT, adding that there was a need for additional optimization to start the service.

According to Vaidya, NT is planning to launch the service in 15 municipalities in the first phase. “People in remote places may not require or want 4G service. Hence, our focus in the first phase is starting the service in major cities,” she said.

NT expects the number of people upgrading to 4G service to rise significantly after they power the prepaid service. According to Vaidya, the number of people using prepaid service is higher compared to postpaid service in the NT network. 

As per the latest MIS report prepared by the NTA, the state-owned telecommunication service provider has 13,536,114 GSM subscribers.

On Tuesday, NTA Chairman Digambar Jha told the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that NT had around 7 million active GSM subscribers.

House panel slams govt bodies

KATHMANDU: The Development Committee of the Legislative-Parliament has criticised government agencies, including the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), for being unable to facilitate people with updated and upgraded technological advancements. The committee also summoned Nepal Telecommunications Authority and Nepal Telecom on Wednesday and slammed them for lacklustre performance. “A number of meetings have been held and numerous directives have been issued. However, there doesn’t seem to be satisfactory outcome,” the committee’s Chairman Rabindra Adhikari said. “We request you (the agencies concerned) to go through all the decisions and directives of the committee and internalise the progress achieved.” MoIC Secretary Mahendra Man Gurung said the government was initiating numerous initiatives to speed up progress in the development of ICT sector. Gurung said the government had already initiated the process of mobilising Rs11.5 billion under the Rural Telecommunication Development Fund. (PR)

Published: 19-01-2017 08:51

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