Nepalese fixed line and mobile incumbent Nepal Telecom (NT) plans to invest NPR45 billion (USD587 million) in its national network expansion plan during the current fiscal year, including the deployment of additional fixed and cellular lines. The telco has set out its stall to install a total of 2.2 million GSM mobile lines this year, as well as around 50,000 copper wire-based landlines and 400,000 CDMA-based fixed-wireless lines. If realised, the expansion would boost NT’s overall subscriber base to seven million users. According to the operator’s unaudited financial report, it generated net profits of NPR9.97 billion last year on the back of subscriber growth that left it with three million GSM cellular subscribers, 718,000 CDMA phone users and 562,000 fixed telephony customers. NT is also planning to start ADSL-based internet service in 40 major cities outside Kathmandu Valley within the next six months and make this service available in all 75 districts by the end of its current fiscal year. The operator is also planning to increase the number of 3G mobile phone customers to 100,000 in the same period.
Amar Nath Singh said the number of mobile users soared by 74.5% from 1.71 million in fiscal year 2007/08, while CDMA users also rose by 49%, and 30,000 new fixed telephone lines were installed. The rapid growth helped push the country’s overall teledensity up from 10.12% to 15.50%, of which NT claims a 66% share of the market. ‘Although I am not totally satisfied with the company’s performance last year I am happy with what we did and what we achieved,’ Amar Nath Singh, chief executive of Nepal Telecom told journalists at a press meeting last Friday. ‘I hope to focus more on reaching more of the rural areas and improving quality of our services this year.’