Unconfirmed reports from Nepal suggest the country’s telecoms regulator, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), is planning to transfer United Telecom Ltd (UTL’s) spectrum frequencies from the GSM band to CDMA. The Himalayan News Service cites NTA spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane as saying that the matter is already ‘under consideration’ and a decision is expected when the NTA board next meets. UTL is currently assigned spectrum in the 880MHz-890MHz band that can be used for both CDMA and GSM technology, and has frequencies in the 1900MHz band. However, the NTA is looking to reallocate some of UTL’s frequencies to Smart Telecom, say local reports, although many consider the move could be an overly hasty decision to take.
According to the NTA, as it stands UTL is using three carrier bands — 824MHz-827MHz paired with 869MHz-872MHz (2 × 3MHz) and 840MHz-841.25MHz paired with 885MHz-886.25MHz (2 × 1.25MHz) in the CDMA-800 frequency band, and 1855MHz-1860MHz paired with 1935MHz-1940MHz (2 × 5MHz) in the CDMA-1900 band. Having originally granted the operator frequencies to operate CDMA technology, the NTA later issued it with frequency rights to offer MSTDMA technology and as such, is preparing to shift the 885MHz-890MHz bands from CDMA to GSM, an unnamed source said, adding that the ulterior motive is to provide frequencies to Smart Telecom — a rural telecom service provider — which has acquired licences to operate in 25 rural districts. Nepal’s government granted operating licences to Smart Telecom on 1 July 2008 July, and it had 109,229 subscribers by mid-June.