Ncell strengthens 4G connectivity in Nepal

As its service quality improves, Ncell said customers are using 4G to access online banking while remote retailers located in areas like Terai use Ncell to receive transaction alerts for digital wallets.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

April 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Nepal countryside
Source: Giuseppe Mondì on Unsplash

Nepali telco operator Ncell has upgraded its 4G connectivity in various districts of Lumbini and Bagmati provinces as part of its ongoing efforts to improve quality of service for its customers.

The company said it has strengthened its 4G service in several districts of Bagmati, including Chautara Sangachowk Gadhi, Indrasarowar, Manthali and Thaha. Likewise, areas in the Lumbini province – such as Bhumekasthan, Chandrakot, Malarani, Mathagadhi, Pyuthan, Rambha, Sandhikharka, Tansen and Tinau – now have stronger 4G signals.

These 4G upgrades follow similar improvements Ncell made in February in 11 districts in Lumbini and in several districts in the provinces of Madhesh and Gandaki.

''The company remains committed to improving the already expanded 4G service in different parts of the country," Ncell said in a statement.

Since launching 4G services in June 2017, Ncell has extended its coverage in 77 districts of the country, representing over 92% of Nepal's population.

As its service quality improves, Ncell said customers are using 4G to access online banking while remote retailers located in areas like Terai use Ncell to receive transaction alerts for digital wallets.

Dominant telco operator

According to latest figures from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, Ncell had 6.88 million 4G subscribers as of mid-October 2023 in terms of the Visitor Location Register (VLR), which represents a market share of over 54%.

Four months ago, Ncell changed ownership when Malaysia-based Axiata agreed to sell Reynolds Holdings, which held an 80% stake in Ncell Axiata, to Spectrlite UK for a fixed consideration of $50 million.

"The Group's decision to withdraw from Nepal is based on a thorough evaluation of the prevailing business environment in Nepal, which led to the conclusion that continuing operations under the current conditions of unfair taxation and regulatory uncertainties was no longer sustainable for Axiata," the Malaysian operator said in a statement announcing the sale in December.

Axiata said the total consideration for the proposed transaction is payable in cash under two categories, namely fixed consideration and conditional consideration.

The fixed consideration of $50 million is payable in two tranches. The first $5 million tranche is payable six months after the transaction is completed, with the remaining $45 million to follow 48 months after the transaction is concluded.

The conditional consideration would be subject to the future business performance and distributions declared by Ncell until 2029.

Established in 2004, Ncell is the first private-sector telecommunications service provider in Nepal. The mobile operator became part of Axiata Group, which bought 80% of Reynolds Holding for $1.365 billion in 2016.

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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