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UTL, United Telecom, the previously CDMA limited mobility operator had recently got unified license that paved the way for operating GSM in the whole of the country. The regulator decides to award GSM frequencies to the private operator. UTL paid all dues for the licenses and submitted its roll-out plan for basic telephony before.
The regulator board meeting on Monday decides to provide GSM frequencies in both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz to UTL. The chunk of frequencies to UTL in 900 MHz is 5 MHz and in 1800 MHz is 12 MHz. UTL will pay for the frequencies and the unified license as per the spectrum policy and the auction done before. By getting those frequencies, UTL can now operate 2G GSM services in the whole of the country. Though they have asked for frequencies for 3G in 2100 MHz, it is not provided this time.
Till now, there are 4 operators having this unified license for basic telephony. Those 4 operators are Nepal Telecom, Ncell, Smart Tel and UTL ( the latest one). The GSM frequencies (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) provided to UTL is not technologically neutral spectrum, so they cannot operate other technologies like 3G, 4G in those bands. They will need to apply separately for the neutrality and will approve once they have enough infrastructure for those technologies.
UTL comes in the fourth position among all telcos in Nepal with around 5 Lakh customers (in limited CDMA mobility and Wireless local loop). Their market share comes around 4 percent. UTL is an Indian telecommunication investment in Nepal, with 20 percent share of Nepal ventures Pvt. Ltd, owned by Raghuveer Mahasheth and his wife. Majority share is owned by Indian telecom organizations Mahanagar telephone nigam limited (MTNL), Telecommunication Consultant India Limited (TCIL) and Tata communications.
The coverage of UTL is now available in 110 places of 40 districts with CDMA limited mobility. The company has suffered a lot due to long term protest by the employees inside the organization. With the frequency and the unified license, the operator is known to make up for the loss with UTL GSM network.