Nepal will begin its first 5G internet services trial in June, almost after a delay of over a year, which will cover both urban and rural areas, officials said
Nepal will begin its first 5G internet services trial in June, almost after a delay of over a year, which will cover both urban and rural areas, officials said. However, a possible disruption in the global supply lines due to the raging Omicron variant of the Covid-19 could impact the pace of rollout.
The government has allowed the rollout of 5G services in February last year. The trial was initially planned to begin from July 2021. However, months-long political instability and the change of government thereafter delayed the plans.
Currently, Nepal Telecom, a state-owned telecom firm, is the only one to have got permission for the trials in November last year. The firm has constituted a task force in December last year for this purpose.
“If things go as planned, we will begin the trial in multiple locations within the next six months,” Minu Pradhan, director of Wireless Service Directorate at Nepal Telecom, was quoted by Tha Kathmandu Post. The company has received detailed proposals of plans from vendors and is currently studying them.
She added all plans will be finalized within a week, and the process of importing necessary equipment will begin soon.
So far, the authorities have not granted permission to anyone other company for the trial of 5 G services. NCell, a private telecom company has also submitted its proposal for the trial but it is yet to receive permission.
The new Covid-19 wave, caused by the highly infectious Omicron virus, may disrupt the execution plans. The lockdown and closure will surely have an impact on supply chains.
“As of now, everything is going smoothly. But we fear Omicron may impact the plan,” Pradhan said, adding that vendors had told them it would take probably two-three months to complete the procurement process.
With a population of around 30 million, Nepal has around 22 million voice telephone connections, including 7.48 million users of 4G services. However, there are many areas in mountainous Nepal that still don’t have 4G mobile service.