Spice Nepal, the first Nepalese private sector cellco, launched its mobile service on Saturday under the brand name Mero Mobile (meaning ‘my mobile’). The service is initially only available to users in the Kathmandu valley, but will be extended to several major towns in the near future. The company has run into problems trying to agree interconnection terms with state-owned Nepal Telecom Company, but hopes that an agreement will be in place ‘soon’.
Three years ago, Nepal’s Khetan group, in partnership with Spice India, began an abortive attempt to launch the Spice network in Nepal. Khetan subsequently sold its stake to the Raj Group, which is chaired by Kumar Raj Bahadur Singh, son-in-law of Nepal’s King Gyanendra. Visor, an investment company based in Kazakhstan, now has an 80% stake in Spice Nepal with the remaining 20% held by the Raj Group together with several Nepalese ex-pats.