This year telecom companies in Nepal introduced the 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) along with much enthusiasm but since then, there has been a slow growth in the subscription of 4G by mobile phone users.
Nepal Telecom introduced 4G for postpaid users in Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara on January 1, making it available for its pre-paid users on February 4. So far, only 7,729 post-paid SIM subscribers and 508,500 pre-paid SIM subscribers of NT have switched to 4G service. Considering the four million pre-paid SIM users and 350,000 post-paid SIM users in Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara, the number of subscribers is low.
Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) said, “Subscription to 4G service is growing but very slowly. This might be due to affordability factor as internet services are comparatively costly in Nepal.” As Nepal is still in the infancy phase of digitization, Aryal added that people are less friendly to the internet and its multi-dimensional use.
According to the NTA, this slow growth in 4G subscription is also due to the limitation of the frequency spectrum to telecom companies. Due to this, the telecom operators have been able to provide only 30 Mbps internet speed on 4G service though 4G should have around 90 Mbps internet speed.
Shovan Adhikari, deputy spokesperson for NT, said, “We have low internet content and every subscriber does not carry a 4G compatible phone. The 4G subscription rate will surge along with an increase in the number of 4G compatible devices and internet content.” Adding, “Though 4G subscription growth is not overwhelming, it is growing satisfactorily.”