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Technology Neutrality is the talk of the town in Telecom industry in recent days in Nepal. As the regulator has geared up to change the regulations for bringing 4G in Nepal, the term is getting more popular although it was there under discussion from 2012 when it was recommended to implement with the Interim Frequency Policy. Telco giants NTC and Ncell is lobbying the regulator to pave the way for making most out of their frequencies.
So, What is Technology Neutrality!!! It is a regulatory provision adopted by most of the countries to let the telecom operators use their existing frequency for any licensed mobile technology standard. This sort of licensing approach may come while assigning frequencies for new technology. However, the regulator may ask the operators to pay for more frequency fees for the specified frequency bands.
Nepal is currently using 900 MHz/ 1800 MHz for 2G GSM and 2100 MHz for 3G WCDMA mobile service. So the technology neutrality will enable to operate 3G and 4G mobile network in all existing bands.
There are unused frequencies in 2300 MHz, 2600 MHz band to provide 4G service. But operators do not prefer these bands for the band for starting of 4G service. It is due to their less coverage and higher costs for higher no of Base stations. Technology Neutrality enables new spectrum efficient technologies to be used in existing frequencies. So that existing frequency spectrum can be used for better penetration and lower costs. The cost cut is is due to the maximum usage of existing frequency chunk.
Compare to 3G and 2G, 4G is more spectrum efficient. So using that technology in existing frequency bands will increase the performance of an operator. It can also cater more subscribers (with better services) with the same bandwidth. The technology neutrality will even help the operators to bring 4G and faster data service within a short period of time.
However, if an operator is not scrapping old mobile networks like 2G and use the existing chunk of frequency for 4G networks, they need to perform spectrum re-farming. Spectrum re-farming will vacate some chunk of frequencies in existing technologies to use for latest technology like 4G. The same scenario holds for Nepali telcos. Where telcos prefer some chunk of frequencies in 900 MHz for 3G and some chunk in 1800 MHz for 4G LTE.
Learn about existing frequency bands of Nepali Telcos here.