Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) is reportedly planning to soft-launch its new GSM-based SIM card service on 24 September after receiving the necessary regulatory approval from the Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA). According to local news journal eKantipur, NST is in the process of installing the required infrastructure to support the service, including the main core systems, base stations, sub-systems and solar systems. At launch, the operator intends to offer services in 273 village development committees (VDCs) in the mid-western region, before expanding its reach to the rest of the country. The company is initially investing USD25 million in the new venture using loans provided by Nabil Bank and Nepal Investment Bank. It also plans to launch CDMA and fixed line services, and an international gateway. NST is backed by Mukti Shree Telecom (Nepal), Sewa Telecom (Bangladesh), Pakistan Mobile Telecommunication (Pakistan) and Air Bell Company (Cyprus).