Minister for Communication and Information technology (MOCIT) Mr. Gokul Baskota has expressed his plan to promote the expansion of 4G and introduce 5G in Nepal. He also claimed his preference to enhance and expand the services of the government-owned telco rather than the private telcos. The main concern is for the expansion of 4G with Nepal Telecom (NTC) in all places of Nepal.
Speaking in Parliament’s development and technology committee, Minister Baskota opined to expand Nepal Telecom 4G gradually to all parts of the country while working on to bring 5G in Nepal in next 5 years. The committee also directed him to submit the details of work to increase the coverage of 4G.
He also cited the current procurement procedure and legal framework to hinder the Nepal Telecom’s expansion. Although works are in progress, the expansion and quality improvement will not happen overnight for the government-owned telco. Private telcos can buy telecom equipment from abroad without any tender whereas Ntc needs to follow long and clumsy government procedure.
Ntc had already come up with 4G project tender to expand 4G in all parts of the country. But the tender evaluation has not yet concluded to start the project in time due to several factors like CIAA’s (Akhtiyar) concern. Ntc was known to finalize the 4G expansion project but the recent sacking of NTC MD may put the project on hold. But there is no such hindrance for the private telcos. Ncell has already launched 4G in 21 cities. There is also an equal demand for 4G in other areas. Ncell recently upgraded their 4G network speed significantly with new technology. Read more here.
Although 5G seems too far as 4G is still not available everywhere, Nepal needs to work to plan now to launch 5G in some years. Some of the operators in developed world is planning to launch 5G within 2018 and will mostly happen in 2019. The regulator NTA also needs to put policies in place, including the frequency spectrum band for 5G.