Nepal Telecom Authority is currently under discussion with Nepalese Telecom operators to discuss ways to sort out a set of regulations for domestic roaming between intra-country operators. Roaming is actually a major feature in GSM when it was first developed and the term referred to international roaming but later used in various other technologies and even in between two different technologies.
Roaming, in general allows a mobile subscriber to get services from another network when its home network is unavailable. The term was equally used for a limited mobility subscribers when the subscriber travels to a new location of the same network, it is said to be roaming subscribers even in it’s own network. It is said that National Roaming or domestic roaming is not quite popular in world telecom scenario but NTA believes it will help maximise the utilisation of existing network, avoid duplication of network, and help new entrant grow till it rolls out its own network. Nepal Telecom, the only one operator that has its footprints in almost all districts and majority of VDC in Nepal, is quite reluctant to implement this sort of roaming as it smells conspiracy, only to save some new investments, other than having proper set of requirements to facilitate roaming.
New Mobile network operators like Smartcell, Nepal Satellite and even private giant Ncell will be benefitted from the domestic roaming. It’s not that Nepal Telecom will be loosing their customers and revenue, proper regulations and policies in domestic roaming will encourage their extension to the remotest areas in Nepal with the abundant resources of Nepal Telecom and also increase their revenue with roaming calls somewhat expensive than normal calls.
National roaming is also seen as a different form of Infrastructure sharing and that helps maximize the network operators resources just like a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVN0) that is not even envisaged in Nepal till now. The regulator must not be biased to formulate any sort of policies that helps some new entrants but downgrades the incumbent operator, otherwise the new operators will always install BTS’s in easy places (city areas) where there is much more traffic and gets coverage from existing operators in remote places(esp hilly, mountainous region) which worsen the competition in extending their coverage and provide better quality service.
Though there are many issued to be sorted for this, Nepalitelecom.com believes the discussion of NTA with operators will formulate a clear/unbiased policy to facilitate domestic roaming in the country.