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UTL (United Telecom), the oldest telecom operator in Nepal after Ntc, is known to revive itself and its services. The company has gone through losses and its service is also very limited now. Once a popular company, UTL has now become the fourth company with just 5 lakh 27 thousand customers.
For the revival, the rumor has it that some of the business groups have moved ahead to invest in the company. Before, the majority of the telco (80 pc) was owned by three Indian Companies, a joint venture of MTNL, TCIL, and Tata. Remaining 20 percent was owned by Nepal Ventures Pvt. Ltd, whose owner is now Mr. Upendra Mahato. As Indian giants have not increased the investment even in the crisis period, the percentage share of Upendra Mahato is higher now (more than 51 percent) due to equity.
Indian giants are now thinking to pull out from the company. So, Nepali business groups, Giants like Vishal Group, IMS and Jyoti Group are already one step ahead for the investment. At first, they have to give back some money to Indian JV to bid farewell. Although the losses are in 5 billion Nepali rupees, they are giving Rs 1.5 billion, as a part of their investment return. Remaining will be the pending bank loans and the regulatory fees, which amounts to 5 billion. Then only they will clear out the company and can start investing for the real equipment.
When UTL got the Unified License, their limited mobility in CDMA service was removed and also enabled them to be a GSM operator. There was a rumor back then, that they have already selected Ericsson vendor for buying equipment for GSM and 4G. But it is still in the grave whether they had done the contract with them or not.
After clearing out the company debts and liabilities, UTL can work for the investment of the telecom equipment which is very costly. Even though they are costly, the telecom business is known to be very lucrative. Once high investments are done, you are getting revenues continuously with the maintenance of their services. It is possible only if customers are kept satisfied and the technology or service won’t phase out.
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As there are already three operators in Nepal with 4G service, UTL will also join the current trend of telecom technology. UTL also owns frequencies in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz band. They can operate GSM in one band and 4G LTE in other. Being technology neutrality in 1800 MHz, they can use it for 4G LTE roll-out like the way other operators did. If everything goes right, we can expect 4G from the revived UTL company, within 2018 or 2075 mid.
So there will be four operators for 4G. Is not it exciting for customers? As people in the remote, rural areas are more in need of new operators, let’s wish this will also enhance the coverage in rural areas.