Nepali telecom operators might be able to introduce 4G service by September.
Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) – the telecommunications sector regulator — has made amendment to the existing Radio Frequency Policy, allowing telecom operators to launch 4G service. The draft of the policy, which is now at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), will be passed within next 10 days, according to MoIC Secretary Diensh Kumar Thapaliya.
If the amendment is passed within 10 days, telecom operators will be able to launch 4G service within September.
Nepali telecom operators have been saying that they will be able to roll out 4G services within two months of receiving permit from the government.
“We are desperate to introduce 4G service in Nepal and enhance users’ Internet using experience. I believe that we will be able to begin this service within two months after getting government’s permission,” Simon Perkins, managing director of Ncell, told Republica.
It has been many months since the telecom operators Nepal Telecom and Ncell sought NTA’s nod to launch 4G service. However, NTA was not in a position to issue permission without making amendment to the existing Radio Frequency Policy.
“We have made amendment to Radio Frequency Policy, allowing operators to roll out 4G service. The draft of the amended policy has been sent to MoIC for approval,” Purushottam Khanal, information officer of NTA, told Republica. “We are hopeful that the amendment will be passed soon by the ministry soon, allowing telecom operators to launch 4G service in Nepal.”
The revised policy has to be approved by the Radio Frequency Policy Committee under MoIC which is headed by Minister for Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai.
Officials say the fresh amendment to Radio Frequency Policy allows telecom operators to upgrade their service under ‘technology neutrality’ policy. This means that operators can launch 4G service with existing 1,800 MHz frequency which is being used to provide 3G service.
Officials of NT say it takes at least 3-4 months to begin 4G service after getting regulator’s permission. “We can provide 4G service with our existing infrastructure for 3G. But we will need radio network equipment and core network equipment,” Dilli Adhikari, joint spokesperson of NT, said. “As the procurement process is lengthy, it will take at least 3-4 months.”
Adhikari, however, added that the process can be simplified by adopting ‘fast track’ provision envisioned in the recently amended Public Procurement Act (PPA).