Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has said it will expedite the work on allocating 4G spectrum to telecommunications service providers.
NTA Chairman Digambar Jha said the 4G technology has become a need especially in urban areas due to increased demand for high-speed data connection.
“Allocation of the 4G spectrum delayed as the NTA had no chairman for a long. Now, as I am here, I assure to take ahead this matter,” Jha said at an event on “4G Spectrum Allocations in Nepal” here on Monday. “Technological innovation has been moving ahead at lightning speed and we need to make sure we are not left behind.”
Former NTA Chairman Bhesh Raj Kanel said the government should first introduce a migration policy allowing the operators to choose the service they can focus on before allocating 4G spectrum. “Spectrum should be neutral so that the operators can operate any types of services they want, instead of separating 4G frequency band.”
“Likewise, the operators should mandatorily be asked to come up with a roll out plan and those who fail to perform as per the plan should be penalised as there has been a trend of spectrum holding,” Kanel said, adding the priority should be first given to the auction of 2.3Ghz band spectrum.
Gary Yu, an expert from Huawei Technologies Nepal, said the broadband cost in Nepal was high. “Voice is approaching towards saturation. It is high time the companies started thinking about new revenue model, which is data. Data will be key for service providers in the days to come,” Yu said.
He recommended the government speed up spectrum reframing and allocate technology neutral spectrum, leaving it up to the operators to choose the technology they want to operate with.
Most of the telecom service operators were of the view the 700MHz band for 4G will be apt initially. Nepal Telecom was of the view that the focus should initially be on allocating 4G spectrum from 700MHz band, and later the operators should be given the spectrum from 800MHz and 26MHz bands. UTL officials too supported the idea.
Binay Bohara of Internet Service Providers’ Association Nepal (ISPAN) said the NTA should auction the spectrum in 2.3GHz band at the earliest as NT has been providing WiMax services from the spectrum allocated from the same band for the last four years.