The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has published its latest market development report – Management Information System Issue 33, Vol. 81 – for the month ended 14 August 2011 (Shrawan, 2068). At that date the total number of fixed and mobile lines in service exceeded 13.513 million, a penetration rate of 47.27% of the Nepalese population. Of the total, mobile accounted for the lion’s share of lines, at 11.919 million – including 11.061 million GSM and 858,273 CDMA connections. On top of this the country’s fixed service providers accounted for 840,000 lines, including wireless in the local loop (WiLL), broken down as 610,840 and 229,988 users. Furthermore, the NTA reported a total of 751,471 land mobile service (LMS) and 1,742 global mobile personal communications by satellite (GMPCS) connections.
As at 14 August Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (Nepal Telecom, or NT) was the biggest player in the domestic mobile market with 6.073 million registered SIMs (including 5.214 million for GSM), just ahead of Ncell with 5.846 million. NT also leads the fixed line segment with a total of 761,838 main lines in service (including 156,690 WiLL users), putting it far in front of UTL with 70,832 WiLL lines, STM with 5,094 PSTN connections, NSTPL (2,466, WiLL) and Smart (598, PSTN).
Nepal’s internet/data services market continues to be dominated by mobile internet (GPRS and CDMA2000 1x) sub-broadband speed connections, which accounted for 3.144 million of the total 3.276 million lines registered by NTA at the end of the period under review. Ncell leads NT here however, with a total of 1.957 million people accessing the internet via its GPRS service, while NT had 1.131 million GPRS/CDMA users and UTL counted 54,175 (CDMA) lines. By contrast, broadband ADSL, cable and wireless modem/fibre-optic connections make up a small proportion of the total. State-owned NT had 71,664 ADSL lines and licensed ISPs collectively controlled 24,555 wireless/fibre-optic and 16,039 cable modem lines, respectively. Dial-up accounted for a further 20,039 connections at the same date.
A total of 293 licences had been issued by the regulator as at 14 August 2011, including three basic telecommunications concessions, two for cellular mobile, nine network service provider, and 100 VSAT user licences. On top of this the NTA had issued permits for internet (48), GMPCS (three), rural telecom (two), limited mobility (108), international trunk telephone (three), rural VSAT (nine) and rural ISP (six) services.