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NTA To Open 5G Spectrum (700 MHz and 2.6GHz) In Early 2022

Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) Chairman Mr. Purshuttom Khanal has revealed that the 5G spectrum in two bands 700 MHz and 2600 MHz will be released in early 2022. Find the 5G service development plan for Nepal as per Mr. Khanal.

He expressed the view while presenting Nepal’s plan for the use of the UHF band (700MHz and beyond) at the 7th Asia-Pacific Spectrum Management Conference.

Mr. Khanal discussed the topics among hundreds of participants and stakeholders from different countries in the region. He also clarified the queries of the participants and engaged with them through interactive sessions. Speakers from Vietnam, New Zealand, Malaysia had also presented their ideas and situations in their respective countries. Such conferences and action forwards will be valuable to the region as a whole.

Purushottam Khanal NTA 5G spectrum

In the program, he also shared the roadmap (action plan) for the 5G service development in Nepal, for the period 2021 to 2025. NTA has already completed the 5G frequency identification, planning and submitted it to the Frequency committee for approval. As per NTA’s plan, the nationwide 5G coverage will be available within 4 years’ time.

5G trial in 2021

The frequency committee chaired by MoCIT Minister has already approved the 5G trials. NTA is also set to award a free 5G spectrum to Nepal Telecom for a year. So, the 5G trial is expected to be complete within 2021. NTA has already sent a letter to Ntc and expecting a 5G trial plan, modality, use case scenario, commercial scope from the operator. For this purpose, Nepal Telecom has already started preparing for the 5G trials.

The spectrum that NTA has prioritized for the 5G trial is known to be 700 MHz (n28) and 2.6 GHz (n41).

Do Check out: Frequency bands for 2G, 3G, 4G mobile in Nepal

5G Initial deployment

After opening up the spectrum allocation process to operators in 2021, the 5G network initial deployment will commence in both (700MHz and 2.6GHz) bands.

The roadmap action plan expects the commercial use of 5G in main cities in 2022. The plan also includes the sharing of both the bands for 4G and 5G technology. As envisioned in Spectrum policy, they have enabled all 4G, 5G bands to be technology-neutral. Given that, 5G ecosystem will take some time to develop, operators can utilize the allocated bands to speed up 4G.

NTA action plan for 5G development in Nepal

Nationwide 5G Deployment

The current roadmap of NTA states that the nationwide 5G coverage will be available by 2025. With the gradual rollout of 5G networks, NTA predicts that the 5G coverage will reach 70% population by 2028.

NTA also expects the 5G coverage extension shall accelerate MBB development and even enable vertical industries. While MBB will be the first use case of the 5G network from initial deployment, vertical industries will take more time for realization. The regulator also foresees the deployment of 5G on such a wide scale to boost the digital economy.

Check out: What are the services/applications of 5G network?

Low band spectrum advantages

Mr. Khanal also shared the importance of the low-spectrum band for expanding mobile broadband in a country like Nepal with an 80% mountainous region. As per him, the low band helped the country improve the MBB Population coverage and user experience. While at the same time, it enabled to boost the digital activities for post-pandemic economic recovery. This shall also enable the country to drive the “Digital Nepal” concept.

Among the low spectrum bands in Nepal, Nepal Telecom has secured 10MHz of Digital Dividend (DD) 800 MHz band (band 20) which has the potential to increase the 4G population coverage ratio by 60% and average Downlink speed by 19%. Check out why Nepal Telecom operated 4G in two bands; band 3 and band 20 spectrum.

Similarly, after the award of technology neutrality license in the 900MHz band, Ncell will launch 4G in 900MHz and enhance its coverage and capacity. The operation of 4G in 900MHz will increase the 4G population coverage ratio by 27% and the user average download speed by 25%.

About the 7th Asia Pacific Spectrum Management Conference

The Asia Pacific Spectrum Management Conference took place on 24, 25 & 27 May 2021 and discussed several topics regarding the management of spectrum and coordination of spectrum policy across the region. The conference provided an online platform for stakeholders to come together for the spectrum issues. While they got the opportunity to engage in several sessions, technology demonstrations, virtual exhibitions, and networking among others.

Some of the themes of the event were: Focus on key frequencies – 6GHz, mmWave, UHF, and C-band, Delivering the spectrum to power the continual evolution of 5G, WRC-23 – an update on preparations from across the regions, Meeting the connectivity needs of vertical users – licensing and access models, Rural connectivity – emerging technologies and solutions to tackle the digital divide, Spectrum sharing – new models and approaches to increase spectrum efficiency.

Tell us what do you think of NTA’s 5G development action plan and the importance of such presentation on international platforms? Do you think it will realize the potential of 5G in boosting the economy of Nepal? Please comment.

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