2078 was a year to remember for the telecommunications industry. We saw a blistering speed war in fiber broadband that completely changed the landscape of our internet. And for mobile communications, the 4G network ruthlessly expanded across the country while the 5G spectrum was approved for its trial.
In sum, this year was a milestone for telecommunications in many different ways. From ruthless 4G expansion to 5G spectrum approval to the growth in fiber broadband, and the ‘shock and awe’ speed war frenzy. 2078 couldn’t have been more exciting.
So, here we will break down the major events that took place in telecommunications this year.
Let’s start with the unforgettable speed war. And for that, we first have to talk about CG Net’s 120 Mbps plan, the event that helped transform Nepal’s fiber broadband.
CG Net waging the speed war
CG Net had everyone’s eye in utter shock when it debuted with the three digits 120 Mbps internet plan. It was a historical moment from many different perspectives. It was a very high-speed internet for residential use and it was cheap. The company fixed it only for Rs.999, a mockery to all the major ISPs of the time. And this happened in June this year. It was the precursor to the speed war that stubbornly refuses to settle, yet.
What this groundbreaking package brought was a phenomenal series of price and speed wars in Nepal. CG Net, having been shunned for telco business, had stirred the boat for all ISPs and they had to react or fall prey to the debuting company’s strategies. But soon, they responded.
100+ Mbps speed becomes common
After a while, WorldLink followed with the 300 Mbps Photon series, succeeded with Photon 600, and has recently launched the 1 Gbps pack. But it was Classic Tech that rolled out Nepal’s first-ever 1 Gbps plan under the Tachyon series. Similarly, Dish Home and Vianet have 650 Mbps and 250 Mbps Ultra-Fi plans respectively. Subisu has also launched the 650 Mbps Raftaar package.
Average speed increases
Thanks to the speed war, Nepal’s internet speed catapulted from a common 2 digits speed to a whopping 1 Gbps plan. Now, the basic plans from each major ISPs stand around 80 – 150 Mbps.
And this has also increased Nepal’s fixed-line broadband speed. Ookla’s latest report showed Nepal’s fiber broadband speed clocking at 40.50 Mbps in the latest global index. That rests Nepal second among SAARC neighbors, only behind India. As ISPs bumper their minimum speed further, and the customers with the high-speed plan are likely to grow in the coming months, the speed is likely to increase further.
A year of 4G expansion
2078 was a monumental year for the 4G network. The fourth-generation broadband expanded rapidly across the country with extensive coverage. Likewise, the 4G users have surpassed 1.5 crores, with the subscribers shared largely between Ntc and Ncell. Both telcos have also stressed expanding their services to remote areas.
Ncell has announced a dedicated 4G service at the Everest Base Camp. NTC has also launched Namaste WiFi for areas where its NT Fiber is not available. Besides, the operators have also established mobile services in rural and remote areas in Nepal. In fact, the 4G expansion was one of the highlights in the telecommunications industry in 2078 BS.
VoLTE service launches and keeps growing
In addition, the year also saw the launch of VoLTE at the expense of Nepal Telecom (Ntc). Aka Voice over LTE is the 4G-based service that enables HD calls and allows users to browse and call simultaneously.
As per Ntc, the service has been very popular. It has over 1 million activations, and more than 1 lakh active users already after its launch back in May.
Meanwhile, Ncell has also geared up for its own. As per the operator, it is testing VoLTE in a few select devices and once it determines their compatibility, the telco will launch VoLTE all over Nepal in both 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
Ntc gets 5G spectrum
The much-awaited 5G trials got a vital boost in Nepal and it could be soon on its way soon. After months of talks, NTC was granted a 5G spectrum by NTA in November last year. There are reports that Ntc will use 60 MHz of frequency bandwidth in the mid-band 2600 MHz band (n41) for its 5G network.
For now, the government-owned operator is in talks with gear vendors for the procurement of 5G equipment. If all goes as planned, we could see the start of the 5G trial before June 2022.
On the other hand, private telco Ncell could also launch its own fifth-gen network. The company has sent a letter to NTA for approval for its 5G proposal. As of now, it seems the operator will have to wait, at least till Ntc begins its testing.
eSIM soon in Nepal?
2078 also saw a new development towards the implementation of eSIM. If went as planned, Ntc could bring eSIMs to use in this fiscal year 078/79. The operator is likely to float a tender for eSIMs. With Android 13 bringing in double eSIM profiles support, the virtual SIM cards could soon start replacing the physical cards in the future.
Much hyped but not yet implemented, MDMS was a curious thing of the 2078 BS. Mobile Device Management System, security software was supposed to strike kick off with the start of 078/79 FY but it hasn’t yet. In fact, it managed to cause more worries than relief.
NTA has planned to curb grey phones in Nepal and also regulate smartphones in the country but it has not come into implementation yet for technical reasons. The talk of it blacklisting unregistered phones caused a major stir and a lot of people registered their phones in a panic too. But the system has not gone live yet. Let’s hope, it will begin soon as it adds an important layer to protect our phones.
2078 in numbers – Telephony and 4G users
In telephony subscription among the three telcos, Ntc has reached 2 crores, 30 lakh, 33 thousand, 2 hundred, and 29. Likewise, in 9 months, the telco reached a total of 87 lakh, 70 thousand, 3 hundred, and 25 users on its 4G network.
Private telco Ncell serves 1 crore, 68 lakh, 77 thousand, 2 hundred, and 16 users on its GSM services. For 4G broadband, the company has a strong base of 61 lakh, 23 thousand, and 96 users.
Smart Cell, has a total of 23 lakh, 69 thousand, 2 hundred, and 27 users on its voice service. Likewise, the telco has 1 lakh, 64 thousand, 8 hundred, and 48 users on its fast 4G network. In total, there are 1 crore, 50 lakh, 58 thousand, 2 hundred, and 69 subscribers. Don’t miss: 4G Users in Nepal Surpass 1.5 Crores, Ntc Leading With Big Numbers
The year was a milestone for fiber broadband. The internet speed has shot through the floor and disgruntled consumers got their high-speed internet plans.
In terms of numbers, the year ended positively for most major private ISPs. WorldLink, the silver jubilee company has over 5.8 lakh subscribers. Subisu, the cable internet pioneer has reached 2 lakh, 26 thousand+ users.
Similarly, Vianet now serves 1.62 lakh+ subscribers with its high-speed plans. Classic Tech, the new bold player in the ISP market has just surpassed the 2 lakh mark reaching 2 lakh, 1 thousand, 5 hundred, and 48 users.
CG Net which helped trigger the speed war has 11 thousand+ subscribers. The company is planning on an aggressive expansion and that would help it reach its potential as it deserves.
In total, there are 17 lakh, 72 thousand, 6 hundred, and 83 unique subscribers. This translates to over 87 lakh users when adjusted with Nta’s recommended 1:4.5 connection: users mathematics. That means one internet subscription at a home is shared among 4.5 members of a family.
So these were the highlights of the telecommunications industry in 2078. Which for you, was the most important event in your opinion? If we have missed anything, you can share it with us in the comments below.
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