Spice Nepal Private, which in March this year rebranded from Mero Mobile to Ncell, has introduced a new starter package, offering users what it claims are the cheapest mobile services ever offered in the country. Local news source MyRepublica reports that from 29 June, Ncell started offering a handset and SIM card priced at just NPR1,130.90 (USD15.52). In the launch phase, the new package will be available in 13 zones across the country, with plans to extend it to the region of Bagmati after assessing its impact in the areas first targeted. Ncell is providing a black and white handset along with airtime worth NPR99 under the deal, although users also have the option to buy a colour screen mobile phone for NPR1,356. Both models have been manufactured specially for Ncell by ZTE of China.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Spice Nepal Private Ltd (SNPL) is a privately owned GSM mobile operator in Nepal offering services in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands. The company was established in 2000 as an Indian-Nepalese joint venture between Khetan group and Indian mobile company Modi Group (Spice India), with the aim of participating in a government tender for a licence to compete head-to-head with monopoly operator Nepal Telecom (NT). Spice Nepal has enjoyed huge popularity in the period since its launch, signing up 1.73 million users by the end of 2008, a figure which leapt to more than 2.36 million 15 months later.