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Nepal - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 14 Sep 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 100

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

High-speed broadband market gains momentum in Nepal

Over the years, efforts to expand the telecom sector in Nepal have met with many challenges. The fixed line market in Nepal remains underdeveloped. A major reason for this is due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Overall penetration reached only 2.8% in 2019.

The market is predicted to decrease slightly over the next five years to 2024 as the mobile segment continues to grow for both voice and data/broadband usage.

Fixed broadband penetration in Nepal remains very low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines and the subsequent dominance of the mobile platform. Also, the declining number of fixed lines is restricting more widespread development of fixed broadband. However, the market has grown strongly over the past five years from a very small base with penetration increasing from 0.9% in 2014 to 3.9% in 2019.

Fibre-optic networks are developing all over the country under private and public funding. The growing demand for high speed internet will strongly push the development of fixed broadband. Over the next five years to 2024 strong growth is expected to continue. Fixed broadband penetration is predicted to reach 10% by 2024.

Between 2018 and 2019 numerous ISP announced contracts with Nokia to deploy fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) in the country. This is in line with the government’s vision of a digital society, whereby 90% of the population will have access to broadband services by 2020.

The NTA announced the launch of the first Nepalese satellite in 2022. Thales Alenia Space will build the national satellite telecom system.

Nepal’s mobile market is now relatively developed and has experienced extraordinarily strong growth over the last years. Slower growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to an already high penetration rate.

In November 2019, the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) took a drastic decision and revoked the licence of Nepal Satellite Telecom. The company has NPR1 billion in unpaid fees and other liabilities to the NTA. This is the first step in the fight between NTA and the telecommunication operators , as they all have unpaid fees.

Nepal has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past seven years driven by increasing numbers of 3G and 4G mobile subscribers. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development with penetration well below most other Asian countries. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Government facilitates e-learning with free internet access and data packages for students;
  • Nepal rises 11 places in international broadband speeds rankings;
  • Nepal Telecom secures additional 1800MHz spectrum, aims to close down CDMA network by July 2021;
  • Nepal sees rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration;
  • Nepal Satellite Telecom has licence revoked;
  • Nepal’s first national satellite to be launched in 2022;
  • Report update includes an assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies mentioned in this report

Nepal Telecom, NDCL, United Telecom (UTL), Ncell, Telia Company, STM Telecom, Nepal Satellite Telecom (NSTPL), Smart Telecom (STPL)

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