Nepal Telecom (NT) has asked the country’s regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), for permission to launch 4G mobile services. The state-backed telco says it is ready to begin upgrading its systems in the country’s major urban areas as soon as the NTA gives the nod. It also plans to expand its 3G services nationwide and phase out its 2G networks. A report from the Kathmandu Post quotes NT’s managing director Buddhi Prasad Acharya as saying: ‘We want the NTA to respond to our request so that we can start the service right away.’ Acharya added: ‘We need to compete with private players. However, we cannot procure equipment as fast as they can. This has impacted our quest to make the service quality better.’ NT competes in the mobile market with Ncell, which will be controlled by Axiata of Malaysia once its purchase of TeliaSonera’s 80% interest is completed; the USD1.365 billion deal was announced last month. Another privately owned operator, Smart Telecom, is deploying a GSM network but has still to launch commercially, while United Telecom Limited (UTL) provides limited mobility CDMA-based services.