Nepal Telecom is currently testing WiMAX Base stations in Kathmandu, which is tentatively scheduled for launch this Dashain or tihar. They have already tested 10 Base Stations inside Kathmandu and going to install/operate 40 more Base Stations in the Valley. AirSpan, a US based Vendor is providing the Wimax solution to Nepal Telecom for the whole of Nepal and currently involved in fast roll out of Base Stations in Kathmandu.
It is found from the test that a single Base Station can provide coverage up to 1 km with a speed of at least 4 Mbps but in compact building area, the coverage goes down to less than 500m. Now with the completion of 50 Base Stations and 400 more Wi-Fi hotspots in Kathmandu, Nepal Telecom will be launching the service after getting approval from NTA for the tariff. They have proposed a volume based package of 5GB WiMAX Internet service, worth Rs 800 to NTA and soon will be launching more packages for wholesale services to corporate (banks, NGOs, INGOs, Government offices and other companies). It is also known that they will be outsourcing the CPE/Support Services from another company and NT will soon make a pact with them for those services.
With the ever increasing demand of Broadband in Nepal, NT intends to install more of WiMAX Base Stations and around 1500 Wi-Fi hotspots in whole of Nepal to quench the bandwidth hungry customers and extend broadband coverage to remote areas. As WiMax allows users to have high speed internet service without having to rely on telephone or Optical fibre cables, We believe it will be more popular in remote areas where it will be the only one option to get wireless broadband there. The Wi-fi hotspot availability of the service with WiMax will be a sure-shot hit due to ubiquitous nature of Wi-fi in smartphones, tabs/pads and Laptops.
As the Internet reach extends to remote places of Nepal, this sort of project helps to lessen the digital divide (the gap between people who have and have not access to Information Technologies like computer, Internet) in the country and boost the economic activities there. See the next post about detailed information about WiMAX in Nepal.