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Telecom operators/companies of Nepal: Which operator/SIM card to buy/choose?

If you are aware of the telecom business here in Nepal, then you probably know how many telecommunication operators/companies/service providers are there in Nepal. Except for one, all other telecom operators are mobile service providers which operate a cellular mobile network in different parts of Nepal. There is only one landline service provider, NTC (Nepal Telecom) aka Nepal Doorsanchar which has got all the telecom services available in Nepal, including Mobile.

NTA, Nepal Telecommunication Authority provides the license and the frequency for the operation of Mobile Networks.  As of  2014, the basic telephony license for the whole of Nepal is Unified license. We will also include the information if the operators have got a unified license.

Telecommunication service providers/companies and services of Nepal

There are altogether six Telecom companies/operators here in Nepal. Among which 5 are mobile/cellular service providers. The following table shows the telecom operators, their services and subscribers.

S.NTelecom Network operators Services SubscribersUnified license
1Nepal Telecom (NTC)Landline, GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, LTE(4G), ADSL, WiMAX, WiFi,15 millionYes
2NcellGSM, WCDMA, LTE (4G)15 millionYes
3Smart Telecom (STPL)GSM, LTE( 4G)1.5 millionYes
4UTLCDMA (Fixed and Mobile), Planned GSM, Planned LTE( 4G).5 millionYes
5Nepal Satellite (NSTPL) a.k.a Hello mobileGSM (Limited area), Midwest and Far-west region.4 millionNo
6CG Telecom (previously STM)Remote telephony from VSAT, GMPCS, Planned GSM and LTE (4G)3 thousandYes.

The above number is based on the NTA data as of March 2017. There are four operators with a unified license. So, all of them will be operating a 2G network in 900 and 1800 MHz. It is interesting to know that the operators like Smart Telecom, UTL will invest in 4G  more without having a 3G  network. The requirement of high-speed internet will be provided by 4G and the traditional voice be provided by 2G GSM technology. Read about the Frequency bands for the Mobile service providers in Nepal.

Which mobile operator or SIM card to choose?

So, if you want to choose one mobile operator/service provider for the SIM card, then you need to know your requirement where you want to use it. The two operators have got network throughout the country. They are Ntc and Ncell.  This is for all those who have or prefer GSM network. So, if you want to roam around the country, then definitely go for one of them.

NTC (Nepal Telecom) is a government-owned telecom company so its service is even available in remotest place of Nepal. Nepal Telecom has the obligation to provide telecom services in all parts of the country. But make sure you take SIM card and subscribe to all services, before leaving to those places. Whereas service wise Ncell has got different interesting services including its class customer care center.

Both the operators Nepal Telecom and Ncell have got 4G network here in Kathmandu, the capital city and Pokhara. Follow us for more latest offers, news for 4G in Nepal. Read the list of cities with Ncell 4G.

  • Quality of service: Ntc Vs Ncell: More or less similar. Ntc found best for Telecom service. Read more here.
  • Price or tariff: Ntc is found to be cheaper than Ncell.
  • Check and compare the tariff/costs of all the telecom operators (Ntc, Ncell, Smart) here.

If you have a CDMA handset, then it is only Ntc which has a network throughout the country. You can find a good signal even in the remotest place of Nepal. Make sure you take RUIM/SIM card from Ntc office before leaving to the remote place. They also have got data service in the NTC CDMA (Sky phone). Do subscribe to the EVDO or data service in the Ntc office.

Read here for the comparison of NTC and Ncell SIM card.

Telecom operators/companies of Nepal: Which operator/SIM card to buy/choose?

Read more: How to check the balance in Ntc?

Ncell

Ncell is a leading private telecom service provider, which is owned by Axiata group now. They had been owned by TeliaSonera Company before. They used to operate in Mero Mobile brand before. The private telco competes well with the Government-owned Telecom service provider, Nepal Telecom. They have been coming up with aggressive expansion and plan for the whole areas of Nepal.

Read: How to check the balance in Ncell?

Being a private company, they are still focused on more profitable areas and their marketing promotion has also been aggressive. As we mentioned before, they have the highest 4G coverage in Nepal. They keep on adding the latest technology and features in their network to provide better services to the customers. As per latest NTA test, Ncell mobile internet is the fastest in Nepal with a speed of 74 Mbps.

Other Telecommunication companies

Smart Telecom

The third operator Smart Telecom is also expanding its network to different places in the country. Till now, it is available only in major cities and areas of the country. Smart Telecom also has not been able to expand its 2G and 4G service to more areas. But we have found some expansion recently in the eastern part and more. Find the coverage of Smart Telecom.

UTL

UTL (CDMA operator) which has got the unified license and frequency is also going to operate 2G in the whole of Nepal. Now, they have shut down their CDMA service. We have heard about the UTL 2G from a long time but we still don’t know when they will realize the network before the commercial launch. The investment in UTL has not also come out as per the news rumors. So, its revival is on hold for some time.

Hello Mobile

Hello Mobile is another brand for the limited GSM mobile service. Nepal Satellite Pvt. Ltd (Mukti Group) is another mobile service provider with Hello mobile brand. They had been operating limited GSM service in Far western and Midwestern region. But their limited GSM service is also not operational now due to some fault in their network.

They might also come with their new plan to revive and operate 4G mobile service in all parts of the country. Well, how can they provide mobile service in all part of the country?? They need to own the unified license and a huge investment.

CG Telecom

CG Telecom is speculated to be the latest operating mobile service in the country with 4G. Chaudhary Group, the largest business house of Nepal entered into telecom sector by buying STM, a satellite-based telecom operator.

Although the Government decided to provide the unified license to CG Telecom, the regulator has not provided the license and the frequency for the operation of mobile service. Recently CG telecom has partnered with LifeCell company for digital services. We can expect CG to do an alliance with the same LifeCell (owned by Turkcell) for the telecom service as well. Lets hope their service will come within 2019 as they announced before.

Companies Merger??

There was a debate on how many telecom service providers are actually in Nepal? People argue that the six number of telcos is quite huge for the size of a country like Nepal. They also suggest we do not need more than three telecom companies in Nepal. The merging policy for telecom companies is also pending for a long time. This would help to reduce the no of telecom service providers in Nepal and help them sustain for a long term in the market. As many international giants and even national business groups want to invest in this lucrative telecom market, we can expect the regulator to come up with the merger and acquisition policy soon.

If you have any queries about any telecom operators/service providers and mobile networks in Nepal, feel free to ask us.

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