Nepal Telecom (NT) has announced a major mobile expansion plan designed to boost network capacity to 3.5 million lines within three years. In an interview with The Kathmandu Post today, NT managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar said that China’s Zhong Xing Telecommunication Equipment Company Limited (ZTE) had been awarded a USD54 million turn-key contract, work on which is expected to start within three to four months. Under the deal, ZTE will extend coverage and capacity in both the east and west of the country, covering major urban centres and some rural areas. ‘A million new lines are scheduled for deployment in Kathmandu Valley while the rest will be for other parts of the country,’ said Buddhi Acharya, manager of NT’s Mobile Services Directorate. By mid-July 2007 (the end of its current fiscal year) NT says it will have connected around 900,000 mobile lines, around 5% of which are signed up to the 3G W-CDMA service it launched two months ago.