NT to distribute new mobile lines by July next year
KATHMANDU, Nov 26: Nepal Telecom (NT) is distributing the new mobile lines starting from the end of the current fiscal year.
While the delay in the implementation of the Package A (5.2 million GSM lines) continues, NT is gearing up for the timely completion of the Package B (4.8 million GSM lines) of the mega project of 10 million GSM lines to address the growing demand.
According to NT, the equipment delivery for many areas of the capital has been completed and installation has begun. “We will be able to distribute new lines by the end of the current fiscal year,” a senior official at NT said.
Chinese vendor Huawei had signed the agreement with NT about five months ago to supply and install the equipment, completing the project of 4.8 million GSM lines by mid-2014. As the lowest bidder, the vendor had bagged the contract for Rs 6.75 billion earlier this year.
Although the operator had invited tender for the mega project more than a year ago, it failed to start on time following the enquiries from Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and later various legal and administrative continued to delay the implementation of remaining lines. As a result of the delay, NT is left with limited stock of SIM cards and shrinking marketshare.
After the completion of Package-B, NT will be capable of distributing lines in Bagmati, Dhualagir and Gandaki zone. “Currently we are issuing SIM cards by enhancing the existing networks as we are running out of stock. Unless we hand over the 5.2 million GSM lines to the vendor immediately, it will be very hard for us to manage the demand,” the official added.
Although ZTE had agreed to work on 5.2 million GSM lines, it later declined citing the high cost. The other bidder Ericsson also turned down NT´s offer. Although Huawei is positive about implementing the remaining lines, the NT board is yet to make final decision on this issue.
Pramod Gurung, one of the board members said, “We are aware about the consequences of the delay and are positive about handing over the project at the earliest.”