TeliaSonera, which owns 80% of Nepalese GSM operator Spice Nepal Private Ltd (Ncell) through TeliaSonera Asia Holding, has announced plans to upgrade the cellco’s network with 4G technology provided it receives the requisite licence and spectrum from the government. Myrepublica quotes Hakan Dahlstrom, head of TeliaSonera’s Mobility Services division, as saying: ‘I can’t exactly say the date. But if we get permission and spectrum in Nepal, we are positive [about our plan] to operate the service.’
Ncell launched the country’s first 3G services at the base camp of Mount Everest, in late-October 2010 and has since approached the regulator, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) for a licence and radio frequencies to offer 4G. TeliaSonera says the NTA has yet to respond to Ncell’s request. The Nordic parent group intends to launch 4G service in most of the European countries in which it is present by 2011, and hopes to add Nepal by 2012. In the meantime, Ncell continues to roll out its 2G/3G network and aims to cover 90% of the population by the end of this year, thanks to a USD100 million investment. It currently covers 85% of Nepalis. Ncell is also planning to introduce value added services (VAS) in ‘new sectors’ before the end of the year, says TeliaSonera.