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4G in Nepal Explained.

June 23, 2016: You don't need to be a technological nerd nor an engineer to understand what 4G is and the services you get from 4G. 4G is an acronym for fourth generation of mobile communication technologies. The current mobile technologies standard in Nepal ranges from 2G to 3G in both GSM and CDMA family. Well the fourth generation is the direct evolution of 3G from GSM family, as CDMA don't have any standard beyond 3G, it can also be considered the next evolution for CDMA family. The technology is broadly called LTE whereas it is the initial release (3.9 G) of the Long term evolution and the true 4G is called LTE advanced. The internet speed that we get from these technologies gets increased significantly adding more services to its suit including the video broadcast service. The regular voice and video services from circuit switched network won't be there with 4G, so 4G can be said a data only technology whereas you can get voice and video call service by falling back to the old 3G/ 2G network or it can use VoLTE (Voice over LTE) or some OTT (Over the top) applications like Viber, Skype, Whatsapp for the same. Nepal Telecom even claims their WiMAX technology to be a 4G technology but due to their uneven coverage and non reliability while using outdoors, it is being used for fixed broadband at some office or home locations. 
Data speed with 4G has increased significantly from what can be provided with 3G, the peak throughput comes around 100 Mbps in a base station. The speed that a customer gets from the 4G network is about 10 to 20 Mbps for a non loaded network (that's what we can get during initial launch), whereas the speed goes down to 5 to 8 Mbps in a loaded network. A full length HD movie can be downloaded in matter of couple of minutes which would take more than 10 minutes to half an hour with the current 3G. 

As every wireless technology (in all part of the world) need license and the frequency to provide the network beforehand, Nepal Telecom and Ncell (the two major operators in Nepal) have been demanding the same to the regulator body (NTA) and Government to award the license and frequency. Both the operators claim it to launch the 4G service within 3 months from the date of awarding the license and frequency, as they say they have already made their network 4G ready with some testing and upgrade. There are many speculations regarding the operating frequency and the license to be awarded very soon . We have been hearing that since last 2 years but there has been no significant progress except for the inclusion of 4G in the budget of fiscal year 2073 / 2074. Even now it is heard that the frequency of operation will be from the current operating band (most probably 1800 MHz which has 2G network running) and the technology neutrality (any technology can be operated in the frequency that is already available to an operator) to be provided for that band. 
The 4G from LTE technology is based on OFDMA which is the same modulation used in WiMAX technology but differs significantly over the structure and the key difference lies in the non-interoperability with legacy networks like 2G, 3G from WiMAX. It is the LTE technology that is more popular and widespread than WiMAX technology. There are two types of LTE technology: namely FDD and TDD, the later one being the China developed and preferred technology and is more prevalent in China and India. But it seems more likely that Nepal will go for FDD LTE.

What do we need to use 4G?

The current high end smartphone range supports 4G LTE in the frequency bands that is quite popular in this part of the world. So, if it's in band 3 that Nepal will be launching the 4G technology, it is available with the high-end smartphones as it is the most popular bands in the whole world. You can even use LTE dongles to connect it with your computer to use the 4G technology for the specified frequency band. 
If you have any queries for 4G, feel free to ask. 
 

Ncell launches Day Voice pack

June 21, 2016: Nepal's biggest private mobile operator, Ncell has launched a new offer called Day Voice pack. With this offer, Ncell customers can get 30 on net talk time at Rs 8 per day. On net calls means the subscribers can make calls to other subscribers within their network only. The offer is known to be valid from June 21 (Wednesday) till 3 months. The Rs 8 (with taxes) will enable Ncell customers to get a minute call at 27 paisa which is quite cheap. The time for the validity of the pack is from 5 am to 5 pm. The pack can be taken by dialing *17118# and it could be taken as many times as you can with accumulation of minutes and the validity be extended as per the last pack bought. The remaining talk time can be known by dialing *901#. 
There used to voice pack for night in Ncell with Night voice pack offer which will provide 60 minutes on net talk time at Rs 7 (without taxes) which is valid for 10 pm to 6 am in a day. The call tariff from the night voice pack was 12 paisa per minute.
Along with the day voice pack, Ncell has also launched "Buy one get one Ncell night voice pack" offer which provides 120 minute on net calls at Rs 8.78 (with taxes) which is valid for the same night duration from 10 pm to 6 am. According to Ncell, customers can buy both day voice pack and night voice pack where each pack will be consumed for the respective time.

 

Call quality problem in Nepal Telecom Mobile


Update 1:05 PM: It seems the problem of problematic voice in Nepal Telecom's mobile in Kathmandu is solved as per the feeling of call quality. Hope they have solved it permanently. NT is yet to tell about the actual reason behind.

June 21, 2016:It is known that there is call quality problem in Nepal Telecom's GSM mobile network from the morning today (June 21, 2016). There are many complains from the subscribers regarding the voice one way call in Kathmandu. Nepal Telecom is yet to confirm about the call quality problem and the reason behind it. Such call quality problem may come to a operator for some time due to some glitch in their network or some mis-configuration. But it is taking long more than a hour to solve. The complainers say for one minute call is fine and the other minute it goes disturbing. So the mobile network quality is still fluctuating. It cannot be said whether it is in Kathmandu alone or whole of the Nepal. If you have encountered the problem, please write below in the comments with your location.

 

Landline phone to be migrated to IP technology.

June 20, 2016: Nepal Telecom, the government owned telco is known to migrate its PSTN phone to IP technology within 3 years. Landline phone through PSTN technology is one of the most popular service of NT and it's the only operator to provide the fixed telephony to major areas of Nepal. There are around 7 lakh (700 K) customers in Landline phone service in Nepal, most of them through TDM (Time division multiplexing) switch and only few thousands through IP based on NGN technology. The current landline network is connected from NT exchanges to customer premises through twisted copper pair. Recently Nepal Telecom has signed a contract with Huawei for the migration of TDM switches to bring it through IP technology. In the current phase, only 4 lakhs (400 K) customers will be shifted to the new technology which reduces the length of the copper wire. The reduction of copper wire will enhance the quality of the link for better voice and high speed internet services. The IP technology will also add up new services to landline phone like messaging service, Video services and data internet through a single wire also known as Tripple play or Quad play services. The data speed will also be higher than the current ADSL technolgoy and the minimum to be of 256 Kbps. First phase to include major exchanges in big cities like Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Pokhara and the length of the copper to be less than 2 km with addition of more nodes in the locality (which connects to the core servers through optical fiber). It has been more than 3 years that NT started migrating their mobile telephony to IP based services and is currently in the second phase. The phase out of TDM services and the installation of IP technology hardware and the service in Landline phone, is known to complete within 3 years of time.
The current complain with the ADSL service is also known to be solved with the new IP technology landline phone services.
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New CEO for Nepal Telecom in process

June 18, 2016: As the tenure of current MD/ CEO of Nepal Telecom, the Government owned telecom operator, is going to finish in the month of Bhadra, Government has initiated the procedure to appoint new CEO in the company. Government has even changed the TOR (Terms of Reference) for the new CEO appointment. The TOR was first made by a committee led by Tirtha Man shakya, Ex Chief of Public service Commission (Lok Sewa Ayog), as a result of the agitation from technical group including Engineers, against the appointment of current MD, Buddhi Prasad Acharya who is the first with non technical background to assume the position. The committee formation along with other issues like Capping, Company restructuring, Technical Audit and employees benefits were included in a pact reached after 22 days of protest by the Technical group. The signatures were made by then Secretary of MOIC (chairman of NT board) Mr. Sunil Bahadur Rawal, NT MD Mr. Buddhi Prasad Acharya, Coordinator of Nepal Telecom technical group Mr. Dinesh Panthy and all five active trade Unions in the company.
Based on the study on technical companies both inside and outside the country, the report from the Tirtha Man Shakya led committee has recommended for the Education qualification to be an Engineer with Masters degree in Management or respective technical subjects for a competitive technical company like Nepal Telecom.
Sushil Koirala led Government had made a first edit on the TOR, as per recommendation from NT board, which included the qualification to be having education of Masters level in Commerce, Economics, Business Administration, IT or Engineering and having experience of fifteen years in any telecom operator like Nepal Telecom, which should include 5 years in senior officer post.
Current government has made the changes in the TOR without any significant logic for getting better CEO in the 92 percent government owned company. The latest change in the TOR has added Masters in development, Management to the range of educational qualification, and opened up to any personnel with experience of 15 years in telecom operators or government owned/ Semi government organizations including 5 years in the position of Senior Official (8th or 9th level) or Managers (Level 10th or above/ First grade or above). While there is equal chance of appointment of new CEO from officials working in other government owned organizations, they have made a criteria to give extra 3 points ( out of total 15 points) for the ones who is eligible from the company itself which according to employees inside, is a mere show up.
It is known that the technical group along with several unions have already discussed about the governments process as they claim it would not do good for the company with a CEO from outside the company and of non technical background (so far technical group is concerned and the main issue that agitated them two years back). The unions have even expressed dissatisfaction to the attack on the independence of the company for making the cabinet superior to decide on all issues in the company, which is also included in the new TOR.
The tenure of new CEO is known to be 3 years with monthly salary of 2 lakhs and can be extended for 2 years based on his/her performance.
 

Nepal to buy Internet from China within Ashad

June 18, 2016: After the successful testing of Optical fiber from Nepal to China, Nepal Telecom is known to buy internet bandwidth from China within the month of Ashad. Talking to Setopati team, Nepal Telecom's Joint spokesperson Dilli Adhikari mentions of their proposal already sent to China Telecom for the internet bandwidth. He said, "Finalizing the proposal drafts, the contract will be signed within the month of Ashad". The installation of equipment on both sides have been completed to pave the way for the commercialization of the link for internet bandwidth from China side, ending Nepal's dependency over India for global Telecom service. He believes that the opening of new link provides option to the operator for selecting good quality and low price internet bandwidth. As the China link connects direct to Hongkong, the short route will improve the latency and the speed resulting in a good quality link. Right now, Nepal is connecting to the world through India, then to Singapore and then only to Hongkong Global Traffic. The competition between two countries and carriers there to provide link to Nepal, can result in good quality and low price bandwidth. But He mentions that the exact details of the price whether it goes down or up, cannot be said now until the proposals get reciprocated from China.

Quoting the Nepal Telecom Official, Setopati reports that the equipment tests, continuity tests, Service level tests, cable capacity tests and fiber tests are already completed and the link awaits the final agreement between the two operators. 
Experts believe and keep on saying that this new link would significantly reduce the internet costs. The link can also be used to route the international phone calls, enabling the competition and then the probable costs reduction for the ISD calls too.
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