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Nepal Telecom (NTC) is ready to start 5G trial after Tihar as the telco accelerates hardware installation on its trial towers. The telco will first bring its fifth-generation network live in Sundhara and Babarmahal, Kathmandu before expanding to other cities.
At the moment, the government-backed operator is installing hardware on the 4G tower. This will be followed by integration, commissioning, and then testing in Sundhara and Babarmahal. The two towers could come into operation by the end of November however won’t arrive for public use right away. The users could gain access to the ultra-high-speed network around the start of January 2023.
The company plans to start 5G signals in one select city in four provinces and could gradually expand in other areas. As per the same plan, the operator will start 5G trials in Sundhara, and Babarmahal in Kathmandu of Bagmati province soon.
Contrary to its initial plan, Ntc is preparing to trial its 5G network in selected locations in all seven provinces.
At the moment, the telco is setting up infrastructure in other venues while the final system assessment is ongoing in the two above-mentioned areas inside the valley. The trial is being conducted on Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture with updated software on the 4G core. The company plans to run a Standalone (SA) 5G trial at a later stage.
The state-owned operator received approval and the spectrum from NTA over a year ago. With the approval, Ntc stepped up its effort to bring the fifth-generation mobile network to life. Ntc is becoming the first operator in Nepal to embark on the revolutionary 5G standard.
So far, Ntc has been in talks with the telco equipment vendors to speed up the trial process. At the same time, the telco is also ruthlessly expanding its 4G network across the country. It is stated that the assurance of the 4G gear vendors was the reason the ministry opted for the countrywide 5G trial.
ZTE and Huawei had earned the contract to build a 4G network for Ntc. So, it is known that both companies will provide the 5G gears in different locations. The efforts should show the results in the coming months after the first phase of trials goes live inside the capital.
As 5g is likely to go through all seven provinces during the trial phase, it seems confirmed that people in select areas in all seven provinces will get to taste 5G speed on their devices soon.
Ntc will operate its 5G network in the 2600 MHz band, also known as mid-band in the 5G glossary. Likewise, the telco has 60 MHz of frequency bandwidth at its disposal for a decent mix of both coverage and speed potential.
5G is the next-generation cellular technology that will succeed in today’s 4G network. It will arguably bring a significant transformation in mobile broadband with potential applications in health, education, manufacturing industries, etc. Its high speed/low latency means interactive activities on the internet will see a substantial improvement.
On the spectrum front, the telecom regulator NTA has allocated a 2600 MHz frequency band to Nepal Telecom for the trial. It will operate from 2500 MHz – 2560 MHz, with a chunk of 60 MHz. This band is also known as n41 or a more popular mid-band which will deliver a good mix of speed and coverage.
The state telco will comply with NTA’s procedure for the new technology testing including the 5G trial. It will switch on the 5G in rural and urban settings to uniformly dedicate the broadband service to comply with the ethos of the Digital Nepal Framework that seeks to narrow the digital divide.
The trial will help the operator and also the regulator to understand the viability, and the scope of 5G in Nepal and its application on the users’ end. The 4G has reached nationwide and will soon reach all the local levels. But smart home devices, AI, and IoT have entered Nepal, and with OTT and interactive internet on the rise, 5G could be the frontier we need. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope the 5G is coming at its expected timeframe.
As stated above, Ntc is going to comply with the decision by the MoCIT and start trials of 5G in seven provinces. But it’s likely the trial is coming in phases with Kathmandu coming first in the order.
After the first phase trials in Kathmandu, second phase trials would begin in Pokhara and Nepalgunj. More provinces will follow in between. For rural settlements, a few rural municipalities will be selected around Kathmandu that will enjoy the free test of the 5G broadband.
The company will also assess the possible use cases of 5G and its market demands when the trial starts.
How excited are you with the prospect of a 5G trial beginning in Nepal? Do you think we needed it earlier or have a reservation about it? Let us know how you feel about the next-gen cellular network in the comments below.
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