The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has – as requested by the government last week – submitted an amended frequency policy to the Ministry of Information and Communications to allow the country’s mobile operators to utilise their existing 1800MHz spectrum holdings for 4G LTE services. The annual spectrum fee for the 1800MHz band will be increased from NPR8 million (USD75,500) per MHz to NPR19 million, according to a report from the Kathmandu Post. 1800MHz frequencies are currently being used for 2G services in Nepal, but the government is looking to encourage operators to launch 4G technology.
Alongside the 1800MHz plan, the NTA has also amended the policy to allow existing 2G 900MHz spectrum to be opened for 3G services, with the annual spectrum fee rising from NPR12 million per MHz to NPR24 million. The changes only apply to those operators holding unified licences, i.e. Ncell, Nepal Telecom (NT) and Smart Telecom. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Nepal was home to around 26.6 million mobile subscribers at the end of March 2016, split between Ncell and NT, while Smart offers GSM-based limited mobility services (LMS) to around 1.4 million users.