Strong growth in Nepal’s mobile broadband market continues
Over the years, efforts to expand the telecom sector in Nepal have met with many challenges. Nepal’s mountainous topography has made it extremely difficult to develop its telecommunications infrastructure. Furthermore, Nepal had been struggling under an adverse economic situation caused largely by political instability.
Fixed broadband penetration in Nepal continues to increase slowly from a very small base. Penetration increased from 0.8 in 2012 to 0.9% in 2014 and 1.2% in 2016. Fixed broadband penetration is predicted to grow from 1.2 % in 2016 to reach at least 3.0% by 2021. Mobile broadband in Nepal continues to grow strongly from a relatively small base. Penetration has increased from 17% to 2014 to 21% in 2015 and 25% in 2016.
The Nepal Telecom Company, the state-owned incumbent operator, has been the major builder and operator of the national telecom network. For a long time it held a monopoly over all aspects of telecom in the country. With the opening up of the market, Nepal Telecom lost its monopoly on basic telecom services a little more than a decade ago with the licensing of United Telecom Ltd (UTL). It subsequently surrendered its monopoly on mobile services with the licensing of Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd, later known as Ncell, in 2004. Despite all the energy that has gone into the sector, there was still a significant disparity between the high coverage levels in the cities and the coverage available in the underdeveloped rural regions.
In May 2016 State-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) completed the deployment of a fibre link to the Chinese border. NT will then have a direct connection to data centres in Hong Kong, while there are also plans to develop a connection to Singapore.
The mobile market in Nepal continues to grow at a moderately strong rate in a relatively mature market, although growth began to taper off by 2015. Market penetration increased from 82% in 2014 to 97% 2015 and 100% in 2016. Moderate growth is predicted to continue over the next five years. The market is predicted to grow to reach over 110% by 2021.
Nepal Telecom; Nepal Doorsanchar Co Ltd (NDCL); United Telecom Ltd (UTL); Ncell; TeliaSonera; STM Telecom Sanchar Pvt Ltd; Nepal Satellite Telecom Pvt Ltd (NSTPL); Smart Telecom Pvt Ltd (STPL).
Number of pages 46
Last updated 27 Oct 2016
Analyst: Phil Harpur
Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.
Dominic Schipano, CITT
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