August 23, 2015: Nepal Telecom, the pioneer operator is known to phase out CDMA within 3 years span. CDMA mobile technology or service is seen as the perfect technology to provide mobile coverage in different remote parts of Nepal, having such mountainous/hilly terrain. As their GSM network is being expanded to those remote areas with the current GSM/WCDMA project, NT plans to remove CDMA base stations gradually but only when the GSM service is made available there. Currently NT is running 2 Million CDMA project with which it is expanding 2G/3G services to remote areas but with this decision it seems the project expansion will be stalled. It was in 2006 that NT launched CDMA with limited mobility in Kathmandu and later extended to other parts. NT brought EVDO (3G CDMA) service in 2010, providing data service (of 3.1 Mbps). NT holds around 1.5 million CDMA subscribers (including the data only users in EVDO through USB dongle). Customers living or travelling to the remote parts of the country prefer CDMA for voice call and data where there is no any other means of communication available. NT is even providing cheaper data tariff in CDMA when compared to GSM. But the current trend shows that the subscribers in CDMA is going down due to non-availability of different range of Handsets, absence of some other services like Value added services (VAS) and the growing coverage of 2G/3G GSM.
It is also in the world that CDMA technology has no evolution beyond 3.5G and even CDMA researchers/investors are opting for GSM family. Some people even say LTE is indirect evolution to CDMA and some operators are also using CDMA as the fallback network to LTE. Though global and national trend shows the decline in CDMA, the phase out should be done after thoughtful plan and the implementation schedule. With the growing 3G/4G networks, some operators already shut down CDMA and some like Singapore are planing to phase out GSM in 2017. which will avail more spectrum to the expanding 4G networks.