Nepal’s Smart Telecom eyes mobile network launch

19 Aug 2014

The Nepalese operator Smart Telecom has sought permission from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to import telecommunication equipment worth over NPR1 billion (USD10.2 million) and for wireless frequencies to enable it to expand its network beyond its current franchise area in the Kathmandu Valley. A report from local newspaper The Himalayan suggests that the firm has already invested around NPR3.5 billion to build out its Kathmandu network, and it is hoping to attract 300,000 subscribers in the area before gradually expanding to other parts of the country. A switch-on had been planned for last year but was delayed due to internal wrangling among shareholders. While the disagreements have now been cleared up, a firm launch date has still to be announced.

Fixed-wireless operator Smart Telecom was granted a unified licence in 2013 allowing it to expand into the mobile market, and in September that year announced plans to invest up to NPR4.5 billion to deploy a GSM network in the Kathmandu region. That same month, Smart was assigned new mobile numbers and 12MHz of wireless frequencies in the 1800MHz band to support its initial launch. The NTA is currently carrying out an assessment on whether Smart has met rollout commitments on its fixed-wireless network before making a decision on the new wireless frequencies.