Nepal - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

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.

Key developments:

  • Fixed broadband penetration in Nepal continues to increase slowly from a very small base.
  • 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.
  • The mobile market in Nepal continues to grow at a moderately strong rate in relatively mature market.
  • Moderate mobile subscriber growth is predicted to continue over the next five years.
  • NT is expected to launch 4G services using its existing 1800MHz spectrum holding before the end of 2016.
  • In October 2016 Nepal Telecom (NT) become the first mobile operator to get the go-ahead to launch a 4G LTE service.

Companies mentioned in this report

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).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1 Background
    • 3.2 Economy
    • 3.3 Earthquake: April 2015
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
      • 5.1.1 Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA)
    • 5.2 Telecommunications Policy 1999
      • 5.2.1 Universal service
      • 5.2.2 Rural Telecommunications Development Fund (RTDF)
    • 5.3 Telecommunications Policy 2004
    • 5.4 Telecom sector liberalisation and licensing
    • 5.5 Foreign assistance
    • 5.6 Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA)
    • 5.7 Privatisation of Nepal Telecom
    • 5.8 Broadband policy
    • 5.9 Regulatory developments
      • 5.9.1 Infrastructure sharing
      • 5.9.2 ISP and NSP licences
      • 5.9.3 Renewal of operator licences
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Major operators
    • 6.2 Nepal Telecom (formerly Nepal Doorsanchar Co Ltd)
    • 6.3 United Telecom Ltd (UTL)
    • 6.4 Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST)
    • 6.5 Smart Telecom (STPL)
    • 6.6 STM Telecom
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
      • 7.1.1 Overview
      • 7.1.2 Statistics
    • 7.2 fibre networks
    • 7.3 International infrastructure
      • 7.3.1 Overview
      • 7.3.2 Proposed satellite
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 ISP market
    • 8.3 Broadband statistics
    • 8.4 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • 8.4.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
    • 8.5 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.5.1 Wi-Fi
      • 8.5.2 WiMAX
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Market Overview and Analysis
    • 9.2 Background
    • 9.3 Mobile statistics
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband
    • 9.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 9.6 Mobile Regulatory issues
      • 9.6.1 Spectrum
  • 10. Mobile infrastructure
    • 10.1 Digital networks
      • 10.1.1 3G
      • 10.1.2 4G LTE
      • 10.1.3 Mobile satellite
  • 11. Major mobile operators
    • 11.1 Operators
    • 11.2 Nepal Telecom (NT)
    • 11.3 Ncell
  • 12. Mobile content and applications
    • 12.1 m-commerce
  • 13. Digital Media
    • 13.1 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
    • 13.2 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 14. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Nepal – 2016
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – Nepal’s GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 8 – Licences issued for telecom services – 2015
  • Table 9 – Fixed subscribers by operator – wireline and WLL – 2016
  • Table 10 – Nepal Telecom’s fixed subscribers – wireline and WLL – 2006; 2011 - 2016
  • Table 11 – UTL’s subscribers – limited mobility and WLL – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 12 – Smart Telecom’s subscribers – limited mobility and fixed-line – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 13 – STM’s subscribers – limited mobility and fixed-line – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Historical - fixed-lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2005
  • Table 15 – Fixed-lines in service and teledensity – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 16 – Fixed WLL subscribers – 2006; 2008 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line subscribers – wireline and WLL – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 18 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 19 – Historical - internet users and penetration rate – 1997 - 2005
  • Table 20 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 21 – Data and Internet subscribers by technology – 2016
  • Table 22 – Percentage of households with internet – 2009 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 24 – Internet bandwidth capacity – 2001 - 2016
  • Table 25– Forecast Broadband subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 26 – Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration rate – 1999 - 2016
  • Table 27 – Mobile internet subscribers – 2011 – 2016
  • Table 28 – Mobile broadband subscriptions – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 29 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
  • Table 30 – Mobile operators and systems
  • Table 31 – Mobile operators and market share - 2016
  • Table 32 – Nepal Telecom (NDCL) - mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2016
  • Table 33 – Ncell’s mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2016
  • Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service, annual change and teledensity - 2006 - 2016
  • Chart 2 - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2016
  • Chart 3 - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration – 2006 - 2016
  • Exhibit 1 – Level of competition by market segment

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Number of pages 46

Status Current

Last updated 27 Oct 2016
Update History

Analyst: Phil Harpur

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