NTA is refarming the 900 MHz spectrum band to improve the mobile network efficiency. This will pave an easier path for telcos to transition from 2G to 4G, 5G in a refarmed 900 MHz spectrum. NTA has also set up a committee that will lead the initiative and coordinate with telcos in Nepal.
Nepal Telecom, Ncell, and Smart Cell have been operating their mobile network in the 900 MHz spectrum band. Unoperational United Telecom Limited (UTL) and Nepal Satelite Pvt. Ltd. (Hello Nepal) have also occupied some chunk spectrum in this band.
Frequency is a scarce resource for telecom operators and has been a subject of debate at times. The lack of frequency spectrum compromises telecom operators’ planned services to their customers. NTA has gradually made attempts to address the spectrum crunch and more issues for a while, with auctions, refarming, and more.
NTA has recently marked 900 MHz as a technology neutrality band for 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in Nepal. The private telco Ncell has already acquired the 900 MHz technology neutrality. Besides, NTA is also planning to allocate frequency bandwidth in 900MHz with a multiple of 5 MHz. This will give a significant boost in bandwidth performance for 4G LTE and beyond networks.
NTA is refarming the frequency in the 900 MHz spectrum band to allocate it in a single contiguous block to a particular operator. With this, the telecom operators who are operating in the said spectrum could maximize their network potential and also pave the way for utilization for 4G and beyond technologies.
So far, NTA has allocated frequency in separate blocks. Now, the telecommunications authority body is refarming the 900 MHz spectrum to distribute them in one single block. This will help telcos improve their service and customers will also benefit from it. Here is the NTA’s roadmap for 5G spectrum allocation and technology development.
The telecom regulatory body has also set up a committee to study the prospect of 900 MHz refarming and allocating to the telcos. The authority has carried out its first round of discussion with telecom companies asking for their advice. Once they receive suggestions, NTA will proceed with spectrum refarming and submit a proposal.
NTA had not allowed telcos to use 900 MHz band frequency for 4G and 5G before. Only after technology neutrality was adopted, telcos will have the capacity to run the latest 4G and even 5G networks in the future. Refarming the spectrum translates into efficient utilization of frequency resources for quality service to the customers.
After the frequency is allocated in a single block, telcos will be able to operate legacy networks (2G/3G), 4G, and even 5G with improved efficiency.
Frequency allocation in 900 MHz band
Five of the telecom operators are assigned a part of the 900 MHz band. Nepal Telecom and Ncell Axiata are operating in 9.6 MHz While Smart cell, and United Telecom Ltd. have occupied 5 MHz. Meanwhile, Nepal Satellite has occupied 4.4 MHz frequency and only 1.4 MHz is remaining. All the above-mentioned frequency bandwidth is paired. Similarly, Ncell has already acquired technology neutrality for the 900 MHz band back in Baisakh.
NTA expects that refarming the 900 MHz spectrum will help telcos unleash the further potential of the current fourth-gen network. Nepali telecom providers NTC, Ncell, and Smart Cell are expanding their 4G reach across the country. With frequency bandwidth coming in one contiguous block, telcos can add another carrier for 4G and improve their 4G service resulting in a better customer experience.
How do you rate your experience on the 3G and 4G network in Nepal currently? Do you expect better mobile service (consistent voice call and high-speed internet) with the refarming of the 900 MHz band? Let us know in the comments below.