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Ncell and Nepal Telecom compete in expanding 4G services across the country

KATHMANDU: After six and a half years since its launch, Nepal has seen its 4G user base surpass 20 million. According to recent data from the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, the number of mobile broadband 4G service users reached 21,132,961 as of June 2028. Remarkably, this figure now surpasses the total number of Ncell users and Nepal Telecom users.

Nepal Telecom’s 4G users account for 1,301,395, while Ncell boasts 7,117,566 4G users. Notably, in just one month, an additional 170,854 users adopted 4G services. In May 2008, the cumulative count of 4G users was 19,621,107.

Comparatively, in June of the previous year, there were 1,850,522 4G service customers, with 1,573,439 new additions during the same period this year. In contrast, the total number of 3G users has seen a significant decrease from 1,460,006 in June last year to 773,2941 during the same period this year.

The launch of 4G services in Nepal dates back to 2017 when the government-owned Nepal Telecom introduced fourth-generation services. Ncell, a privately owned telecommunications provider, applied for 4G frequency and permission in 2067BS but received approval later than Nepal Telecom.

Nepal Telecom announced that 4G services now extend to all 77 districts, including Simkot, the headquarters of Humla, as of 2077BS.

While neighboring countries, including India, are witnessing the commercial expansion of 5G technology, Nepal is starting to contemplate its position in the race for 6G technology leadership. This has raised concerns regarding the quality of existing 3G and 4G services. In the current fiscal year’s budget, the government has pledged to expand 4G services to provide high-speed internet access nationwide.

Nepal Telecom was granted permission to test 5G services back in October 2018, although specific tests have yet to occur. The Regulatory Telecommunication Authority allocated a 60 MHz frequency in the 2600 MHz band for 5G testing, but no public testing has taken place.

Ncell has expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s exclusive permission for Nepal Telecom to conduct 5G trials, while the Ministry of Communications maintains that Ncell did not request 5G testing permission.

Nevertheless, the eagerness of customers to embrace the latest technology is evident. The substantial migration from 3G to 4G demonstrates users’ keen interest in the next generation of technology.

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