A quarter of a million Nepali citizens are reported to be on a waiting list to get a GSM cellular connection from the country’s incumbent operator Nepal Telecom (NT). According to The Himalayan Times newspaper quoting Lok Raj Sharma, director at NT Mobile Services Directorate, the majority of those waiting for a line are hoping to receive a pre-paid mobile phone, including 50,000 people in the Kathmandu Valley area alone. NT has been aggressively expanding its mobile coverage and increasing its user base but is struggling to keep pace with the popularity of pay-as-you-go mobile services, Sharma said, adding that a system optimisation process is underway with a view to provide on-demand mobile phone connection by the end of June. The spokesman went on to say that NT has not distributed any new mobile phones in Kathmandu since September 2007 and the total number of lines distributed so far has crossed the 1.6 million-mark, with GSM coverage now available in 72 districts. The telco plans to increase its GSM base to around 3.5 million users as well as increasing its CDMA users to two million.