Teledensity in Nepal surges to 46percent

Telecom services in the country have reached to 46 out of every 100 people. With fierce competition among telecom companies, telecom penetration has touched 46.05 percent as of last fiscal year.

With two telecom majors—Nepal Telecom (NT) and Ncell—in a neck and neck competition in the GSM segment, the country’s teledensity surged by 14.2 percent in 2010-11. According to latest statistics of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), total telecom subscriber base has increased to 13.16 million.

Of the total teledensity, mobile users account for 40.59 percent, fixed line 2.93 percent and other services 2.52 percent among the projected national population of 28.58 million.

During the one-year period from mid-July 2010 to mid-July 2011, telecom operators added 4.23 million subscribers, up 61 percent compared to the period of mid-July 2009 to mid-July 2010 when operators had added 2.62 million users.

NTA Spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane attributes this increment to increased competition among operators that has resulted in reduced tariff, network expansion in new areas and introduction of value added services.

Amid increased competition, market leader NT witnessed a decline in its overall market share from 61 percent to 51 percent in the last fiscal year. Dismal performance in the GSM segment is the main reason behind this slump.

In 2010-11, NT’s subscribers grew by 23.33 percent, while Ncell’s customers surged by a whopping 90.95 percent, making Ncell the market leader in the GSM segment. Now, Ncell commands 43 percent market share, an increment of 10 percent over the year.

Ncell toppled NT from the top position in the GSM segment through aggressive marketing, new schemes, service area expansion and tariff cuts over the last year. But NT struggled throughout the year to initiate its expansion plans.

NT says it has not been able to post good growth mainly due to delay in implementation of new projects. “Whenever we try something new, the government intervenes, citing possible irregularities, which ultimately pushed strategic plans back,” said a top NT official.

This fiscal year will be crucial for NT if it has to maintain its dominant position in the market. The company has called a global tender to add 10 million mobile subscribers based on GSM and 3G technology by the end of 2015. Although the country has been witnessing a robust growth in telecom sector, service quality, especially in GSM mobile, has always been criticised by users. NTA is also carrying out a survey in four major cities to study telecom service quality and take necessary action.(Source:ekantipur)

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