Just days after Nepal Telecom (NT) was forced to cancel its contract with ZTE of China for the deployment of some 5.2 million GSM lines in the country (the so-called ‘package A’), the telco has received another blow after Ericsson of Sweden reportedly rejected a plan to pick up the slack and take on the order. Last week NT terminated its contract for package A with ZTE, covering the roll out of connections in the eastern, mid- and far-western regions and the central region outside the Kathmandu valley, and asked the Swedish vendor to undertake the plan instead. A number of equipment suppliers were in the running for package A and package B, which collectively would have resulted in the installation of some ten million GSM lines. However, Ericsson has apparently told NT that it would be unable to fulfil the contract under the same pricing structure offered up by ZTE or another Chinese firm, Huawei, which was also interested in the project. So, with all three equipment makers ruling themselves out on the grounds of cost, NT’s ambitious plan to dramatically expand its 2G, 3G, and 4G networks has hit a major obstacle. A board member for NT, Pramod Gurung, is quoted as saying that he came to know of Ericsson’s withdrawal today.