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Efforts to expand the Information and communications technology (ICT) and 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. The devastating earthquake in April 2015 also took its toll on the telecom network. Despite all the energy in the exposition of ICT sector, telecommunication penetration is relatively lower than world standard. There is still a significant disparity between the high coverage levels in the cities and the low coverage in the rural regions. Nepal telecommunications figures include:

  • 3.1 fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
  • 83.23% mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
  • 0.8 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
  • 13 HHs mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
  • Access to computers: 7.8%
  • Internet access at home 4.9 %
  • Individuals using the Internet 13.3 % (ITU, 20

Nepal Telecom has a 46% share in the telecommunications market. Similarly, Ncell owns another 46% share; Smart Telecom has 5%; United Telecom 2%; and Nepal Satellite has 1%. 

For more information, please see the following link / attachment:

Nepal Telecoms–Mobile and Internet 

ISPs, VHF, and Internet Coverage

For more information on Nepal telecoms company contact details, please see the following link: 4.11 Nepal Additional Services Contact List

Telephone Services

Is there an existing landline telephone network?

Yes

Does it allow international calls?

Yes

On average, number and length of downtime periods

N/A

Mobile phone providers (List)

Please refer to 4.11 Nepal Additional Services Contact List

Estimated availability and coverage
(Approximate percentage of national coverage)

Overall tele-density of Nepal is 93.2% with 33.15% of the internet penetration (ITU, 2015).

Telecommunications Regulations

Regulations

Regulations on usage or import of:

Yes / No

Regulating Authority

Satellite

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

HF Radio

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

UHF/VHF/HF radio: handheld, base and mobile

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

UHF/VHF repeaters

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

GPS

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

VSAT

Yes

Nepal Telecommunications Authority

Individual Network Operator Licenses Required
Yes

Frequency Licenses Required

Yes


Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems

Some humanitarian agencies in Nepal have installed telecoms systems for their operational purposes as well as for safety and security of their staff. Some of the agencies that have their own telecommunications systems are: United Nations, Nepal Red Cross Society, Security Forces, Asian Development Bank, and others. The most common telecom equipment used are VHF and HF radios, Satellite Phones, Broadband Global Area Networks, VSATs, etc.

The UN agencies operate on a telecom systems under the same umbrella managed by UNDSS. A common Radio Room is manned 24/7 by radio operators from UNDSS in Kathmandu. Similarly, there are UNDSS Radio Rooms in different regions, including Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi, Bharatpur and Damak. These are operational during daytime.  

A VHF network is established across the country along the East-West highway. However, for travel in the hilly and mountainous regions, staff have to rely on satellite phones. Thuraya satellite phones are mostly in use. Additionally, the mission vehicles are equipped with GSM or satellite tracking systems, HF and VHF mobile radios for communications.

For more information on humanitarian telecoms systems in Nepal, please see the following attachment: Existing UN Telecommunication Systems Map