Nepalitelecom.com reports that state-owned telecommunications provider Nepal Telecom (NT) formally announced the start of its long-anticipated 5G trial on Sunday to mark the company’s 19th anniversary. However, the network activated in the Sundhara and Babarmahal districts of Kathmandu will be used solely for internal testing for the time being, as plans for a wider trial remain stymied by a shortage of handsets with support for 5G using the 2600MHz band frequencies allocated by the authorities. Delivering a progress update on the company’s planned 5G deployment, Managing Director Sunil Paudel said NT had yet to determine whether its current mobile infrastructure is capable of supporting commercial 5G services in the future.
The operator had originally planned to kick off 5G trials in mid-July 2021, but the timetable was delayed after a change of government prevented assignment of the additional spectrum resources required. Having finally been granted a testing permit and 60MHz of frequencies in the 2600MHz band the following November, NT then encountered further problems with equipment delivery, while plans to finally start the trial last month were thwarted by the extremely low number of compatible devices. The operator had intended to launch test networks in all seven provinces of the country by the end of its current financial year (mid-July 2023).