CG Telecom could get Smart Cell’s frequencies to kick start its mobile services. While it’s not yet confirmed, recent developments have raised the stakes for CG to finally get the unified license. If that happens, the long wait for a truly competitive telecom operator will become a reality.
The government has prepared to revoke Smart Cell’s license over its failure to pay arrears to the regulator, NTA. On the other hand, MoCIT has stepped up to publish the 4 years old decision made by the Council of Ministers on CG Telecom’s unified license on Rajpatra. Coincident may it be, but Smart Cell losing its telecom operations could be a blessing in disguise for Chaudhary Group’s telecom business.
But its objectives have long been derailed by royalties payment and political skirmishes. CG has been open in its telecom service plans. It wants to mimic Jio like strategies and revolutionize mobile services with the 4G network. And for it, CG needs an ample 4G spectrum.
Smart Cell’s Spectrum Going to CG Telecom
Smart Cell is using 900 MHz (10 MHz unpaired) and 1800 MHz (24 MHz unpaired) bands. It offers 2G and 4G networks for calls and fast mobile broadband. But the telco is itself on the verge of losing its unified license to continue its services. That could also mean Smart Cell’s Frequencies landing on CG Telecom’s radar.
Media reports have also held that NTA won’t grant CG telecom its license unless Smart Cell loses its own. And it’s more than likely that financially crippled Smart Cell is counting its last days in service. Likewise, CG Chief Binod closely aligns with Nepali Congress which is in the government right now. All these make for the most favorable climate for CG in years.
Nepal’s telecommunications industry has only two companies dominating the market, namely – Ntc, and Ncell. Their services have evolved over the years from expensive data and voice packs to cheaper ones. However, mobile subscribers have also wished for a fresh experience, especially after what Jio achieved in India. There were huge expectations from Smart Cell but they didn’t manifest. Meanwhile, Hello Nepal, couldn’t even break into a proper service.
For Smart Cell it came with a promise. It delivered fast 4G broadband and voice call on 2G but couldn’t offer a competitive edge against the duo rivals. Ntc and Ncell capitalized on their resources and continued their aggressive expansion while Smart stood content and on the fringe. While the affluent duos piled on new customers each month and kept expanding, Smart’s case is the opposite. It is running negative in finances and failing to add new subscribers. It is obvious, it could never offer a transition away from the existing state-backed and privately held telecom giants.
But CG is a behemoth enterprise. It is run by the major business conglomerate in Nepal and has enough resources to cash in on. The company has also shown how devastating its impact can be.
CG’s Fiber Broadband Proves its Power to Influence
Chaudhary Group’s subsidiary CG Net has devastatingly transformed Nepal’s internet market in a few months. This has raised similar expectations for mobile telecommunications. The company has trumpeted that it would make calls free and offer data at half the price that people are paying. And it is not difficult to put our faith in CG for what it has done in fiber broadband service.
But for now, all eyes are now on what the government does with Smart Cell’s unified license. We hope the decision on both these telcos come out soon.
What do you think about the impact of CG Telecom’s mobile services on the Nepali telecommunications industry? Could it emulate a Jio-like revolution and disrupt the market in Nepal? You can share your expectations in the comments below.