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Itel Tops Mobile Import Volume In NTA’s Recent Data

Itel has topped mobile import volume in NTA’s data. In its recent figures, Chinese brand Itel ranked first in coming to Nepal with type approval for FY 077/78. While doing so, this lesser-known phone maker left behind Xiaomi, Samsung, and other brands to bring smartphones into Nepal through legal channels.

Itel sells both smartphones and features phones in China, Nepal, India, and some parts of Africa, Europe, and Latin America. In Nepal where the smartphone arena is dominated by traditional phone makers, Itel largely maintains its brand presence for feature phones. Presumably, NTA’s data highlights Intel’s influence in Nepal’s feature phone markets.

However, the data doesn’t reflect the holistic presence of smartphone market share in Nepal. Although, it does point out that NTA’s MDMS is coming to effect gradually as phone makers comply with NTA’s established protocols to legitimize their phones in the country.

The Nepali smartphone market is dominated largely by Samsung, and Xiaomi. However, in recent years, other Chinese smartphone OEMs have grown their market share. Realme, Vivo, Colors, ITEL are some major smartphone brands that are competing for the top ranks in the Nepali mobile phone market.

Read: Nepal Imported Mobile Phones Worth Of Rs.5 Billion In One Month

Grey Phones Not Counted For The List

NTA, the governing body for telecommunications in Nepal has released the data of mobile imports for FY 077/78. The authority has recently begun MDMS in Nepal and mandates IMEI registration for all the devices that enter Nepal. This data though only includes mobile phones with their IMEIs registered at NTA.

It is estimated that 25% of mobile phones in Nepal are grey phones meaning that they are not regulated. This has led to mobile phone users’ inconvenience and even crimes. To bring all the phones under the radar, NTA has executed MDMS that tracks every phone by its IMEI number.

Also read: What Will Happen to The Grey Phones After MDMS?

NTA has mandated IMEI registration of every mobile phone Nepal bound for years. To systematize it, MDMS has gone live since the beginning of FY 078/79. However, many mobile phones could have still evaded the legal channel as the system took some delay for full implementation.

Meanwhile, NTA’s mobile import data does not include phones that don’t have records at MDMS.

NTA’s MDMS Registration Data

As per NTA’s report, 1 crore, 9 lakh, 19 thousand, and 575 units of phones came fulfilling the legit protocols. The figures show that Itel’s phones have the highest number of phones with IMEI registration. This accounted for 17 percent of the total mobile phones imported during the FY.

SNMobile BrandsIMEI’s registration (in %)
5Colors and Tambo7
7Rite, Kiwi & Realme2
The list showing mobile phone brands with IMEI registration

At second follow Xiaomi. The Chinese brand has had 13% percent of phones registered at NTA. The list can be a bit more surprising later. At third is Lava. The Indian phone maker stood there with 12 percent of phones entering Nepal through NTA’s systems.

Samsung trials at fourth. The South Korean brand had 8 percent of mobile devices in NTA’s directory. Meanwhile, Colors and Tambo each follow at fifth with 7 percent of phones with IME registration.

Vivo, an evolving Chinese brand followed at sixth with 3 percent IME registration of mobile phones. Ryte, Kiwi, and Realme all had 2 percent of mobile phones with IMEI registration for the FY 077/78.

Overall Estimated Smartphone Market

The list does not include the phones that skipped past NTA’s MDMS which could have affected the list. The newly implemented security software is still in its infancy and will take few months to take full effect. Otherwise, the list could have seen few fluctuations. This is evident in the overall market share of smartphone brands in Nepal.

As per Statista, Samsung has the highest smartphone market share in Nepal with 33.8%. While Xiaomi trails at second with 24.52%. At third rests OPPO with 9.38% followed by Apple which occupies a respectable 6.93% market share in Nepal. NTA’s list differs as it only counts the devices which are registered on MDMS.

Itel Tops Mobile Import Volume
Smartphone market share till September 2021/ credit: Statista

Xiaomi Remains Top Smartphone Brand

Although smartphones are the norm today, it has not displaced the use of feature phones that come with a keypad. It is still very common to see stores with a large set of feature phones behind their glossy glass-covered shelves. This is the testament to the fact that smartphone has been popular but it has not displaced feature phones out of extinction. Read our article to learn how feature phones are still a thing in Nepal.

As for smartphones, it is mostly contested by Samsung and Xiaomi with the latter being more dominant in recent months. The Chinese brand has gone from strengths to strengths in the worldwide smartphone market and has seized no.1 rank for smartphones in Nepal for a while. As Samsung reels from chip shortage and lack of punch in mid to low segments, it seems to lose more grounds to ever-rising Xiaomi.  

The data just shows the percentage of mobile devices are registered by those brands at NTA, with type approval. It does not include all the IMEI registration done by individuals.

However, we can expect NTA’s MDMS Registration records to improve in the coming months and years as the noose tightens on grey phones. This is an early sign of MDMS coming to full effect in tracing mobile phones by their IMEI numbers. As the system takes gradual control, we will see more convincing data in the next fiscal years.

Are you carrying an IMEI registered device? If you need to know, you can check or register your device’s IMEI in NTA portal. For more queries on it, let us know in the comments below.

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