Telecommunications industry in Nepal

Nepal’s telecommunications network has expanded significantly over the years, with the number of telephone users (both fixed and mobile) reaching 40,789,198 subscribers as of May 14, 2019.

The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) is the regulatory body for telecommunications in the country. According to the latest data, 8 companies have been licensed to provide voice telephony services, of which 5 are heavily invested by foreign companies. The telecommunications investment market is a subject of interest for many foreign companies and the NTA itself, as it has to prepare the relevant regulations.

According to the latest report from the Management Information System (MIS) of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), 97.65 percent of the country’s 26.49 million residents have access to telephone service. The report includes data through mid-December 2014. Telephone penetration increased by 12.88 percentage points over the annual period. In mid-December 2013, it was 84.77 percent.

History of telecommunications in Nepal

The first telephone exchange was installed in Kathmandu in 1960. From 1960 to 2004, the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC), also now known as Nepal Telecom or Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (NDCL), was the monopoly telecommunications operator. Currently, other competing telecommunications service providers are United Telecom (UTL) and Ncell.

Mahabir Pun owns a satellite dish in Nepal-In Nepal, operating any form of telecommunications service since 1970. However, telecommunication services were officially introduced mainly after the establishment of MOHAN AKASHWANI in 2005. Later, the Department of Telecommunications was established in 2016 in accordance with the plan articulated in the First National Five-Year Plan (2012-2017 BS). To modernize telecommunications services and expand services during the third five-year plan (2023-2028), the Department of Telecommunications was transformed into the Telecommunications Development Board in B.S. 2026.

After the enactment of the Communications Corporation Act, 2028, it was formally established as a wholly owned government corporation under the name Nepal Telecommunications Corporation in B.S. 2032 to provide telecommunications services to the Nepali people. After serving the nation for 29 years with great pride and sense of accompaniment, Nepal Telecommunication Corporation was transformed into Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (NDCL) of Baisakh 1, 2061. NDCL is a company registered under the Companies Act 2053 with an 85% government stake. However, the company is known to the general public Nepal Telecom (NT) as a registered Trademark.

Nepal Telecom

Nepal Doorsanchar Company Ltd. commonly known as Nepal Telecommunications is a state-owned telecommunications service provider in Nepal with an 85% government stake. The company was a monopoly until 2003, when the first private sector operator UTL began providing basic telephony services. Nepal Telecommunications is headquartered at Bhadrakali Plaza, Kathmandu. It has branches, exchanges and other offices in 184 locations across the country.

It is the only provider of fixed line, ISDN and leased line services in Nepal. After Ncell (formerly called Mobile Mero) entered the telecom industry in Nepal in 2005, it is no longer the only GSM mobile service provider. With about 7,000 employees, it is one of Nepal’s largest corporations. It has a total of 262 telephone exchanges in different parts of the country, serving 603,291 PSTN lines, more than 5 million GSM cellular phones and more than a million CDMA phone lines since July 2011. According to recent data, there are approximately 10 million users of Nepal Telecommunications including all those from fixed line landline, mobile GSM, CDMA and Internet service. As of September 2014 Nepal Telecom planned to launch LTE by the end of 2015.

Nepal Telecom launched 4G LTE service on January 1, 2017. It is the first operator to provide 4G LTE service in Nepal on the technology-neutral 1800 MHz frequency band as the standard for 4G in Nepal. To date, 4G is available in all seven provinces of Nepal. 

In July 2019, Nepal Telecom successfully tested VoLTE service for the first time in Nepal, which is available to users from May 17, 2021. According to an MIS report published by Nepal Telecommunication Authority in April 2019, Nepal Telecom has the largest number of cable Internet subscribers at 211,513, accounting for 84% of the total cable Internet market. Similarly, Nepal Telecom, as the only WiMAX provider, had 87,977 subscribers at the end of April 2019.On October 2, 2019, Nepal Telecom extended its 4G service to 60 cities in 37 districts, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli.

Conclusion

The development of telecommunications in Nepal is gaining momentum every year and promises to be one of the most lucrative sources for foreign investment. Experienced investors and other businessmen see a lot of work to be done in the country – and telecommunications is a perfect example of this.