The coverage of 4G in Nepal is only 65 percent

The commercial launch of 5G service was only seven months ago in India, now the third largest telecommunication company Vodafone Idea has also confirmed that it will launch 5G service from next month. Experts are saying that the entry of a third company in 5G service will remove the 'duopoly' of Jio and Airtel and that will be beneficial for the consumers.

In Nepal, government-owned Nepal Telecom has been given permission to test the 5G service, but questions have been raised as to how the company is conducting the test so far. The company started testing in Kathmandu last October and is currently being criticized in Pokhara and Birganj as well. There is no final decision on when and how customers will be able to use 5G. More recently, users have experienced that the quality and expansion of 4G is also declining.

Privately-owned Ncell Asiata, which complains that the government and regulators have not given them permission to test 5G, has not shown much enthusiasm for the Nepali market because it is not ready for 5G services. "The coverage of 4G in Nepal is only 65 percent, a large number of users have not come into 4G," says Ajieta Group's Chief Regulatory Officer Fung C.K. As soon as the market is ready, we will launch 5G. On top of that, the government should provide us with spectrum and permission for testing like our competitors.'

In a session of the program organized by Nepal Telecommunication Authority on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on Wednesday, Bhesraj Kadel, an expert in the field of telecommunications, expressed the view that service providers should not delay the implementation of 5G even if they want to create a market for 5G and learn about new technologies. 'My understanding is that Ncell is investing less in Nepal recently as the license period of Ncell will expire in the next four/five years,' Kadel said, 'He may have an understanding of why to invest more when he leaves. Eexpert in the telecommunication sector, Anandraj Khanal, said that Nepal can sleep soundly for three to five years regarding the commercial expansion of 5G. Although the high representative of Ajieta agreed with his statement, Pradeep Paudyal, Deputy Director of the Regulatory Telecommunication Authority, said that it seems right only from the point of view of business and returns.

According to Paudyal, Nepal will lag far behind in the competition with other countries if it delays moving to 5G. 'Our first priority is full capacity and 100% 4G service expansion,' Paudyal said, 'In addition to this, we should increase practice in 5G as well. Initially, it could be concentrated in the city. But if we don't think in this way and sit back, we will fall behind.' Poudyal informed that the Authority has also taken a proposal to the Radio Frequency Policy Determination Committee to grant permission to Ncell for 5G testing. He also said that they are aware of the decline in the quality of 4G.

While the neighboring countries are studying and investing in the latest technology of telecommunication services, users are expressing their sadness because of the lack of improvement in the quality of the services that are in operation here. There is a difference of opinion among experts whether to increase the quality of existing services or to introduce new services. But this kind of dilemma has also been experienced in other countries, said Jung Budd Park, Project Development Director of Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT). Rather than participating in a race to see who will adopt any technology including 5G, 6G, etc., Park said, it would be appropriate for Nepal to adopt different types of technology with the aim of connecting all its citizens to quality telecommunication services. "According to the geography here, it is necessary to build all kinds of infrastructure such as fixed line, mobile network, satellite," he said, "for that we are also ready to support the Nepalese government."

Communication and Information Technology Minister Rekha Sharma said that there should be a discussion on the problems seen in the telecommunication sector, revenue collected from the information technology sector, digital divide, improving the quality of telecommunication services. She said that in order to make telecommunication services cheap and quality, now we have to set goals by setting work and deadlines.

Minister Sharma said that the government is trying to reduce the gap between those who have access to information technology and those who do not. She complained that after preparations for 6G have started in India, we still do not have quality mobile service in remote areas. Minister Sharma  shared her opinion and said, Nepal should move to 5G technology sooner or later and that Nepal should not be deprived of the use of such latest technology.