MyRepublica reports that state-owned fixed and mobile operator Nepal Telecom (NT) hopes to begin offering new mobile connections on its network as part of a delayed expansion project, from the end of its current financial year (July 2013). The telco is looking to deploy ten million GSM lines in total to boost capacity, but the first phase – for 5.2 million connections – has been delayed.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in September this year NT sent a letter of intent (LoI) to China’s Huawei Technologies, offering the vendor a contract to install mobile network capacity for 5.2 million GSM lines which two other technology providers turned down. NT was forced to cancel its original contract with another Chinese equipment supplier, ZTE, for the 5.2 million GSM line deployment (labelled ‘package A’) and was subsequently turned down by Ericsson of Sweden when it offered it the opportunity to take up the order. Huawei has already accepted Package B of the project, after signing an agreement with NT to install 4.8 million GSM lines by 2015. ZTE pulled out after NT refused its request to raise the cost for implementing Package A. ‘As Huawei has already started implementing its portion of 4.8 million GSM lines, we are optimistic it will accept the offer to install the remaining lines as well,’ an NT official said. Package A involves rolling out 2G, 3G and 4G lines in rural and hilly areas of central, eastern, far-western and mid-western regions of Nepal by 2015.