The import of telecommunication equipment has dropped in the last fiscal year.
The import of telecommunication equipment declined by 18.25 per cent in the last fiscal year, according to Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).
“The import declined due to Nepal Telecom – the largest telecom equipement importer – as it has procured less equipment and other telecom service providers also did not expand their services,” it said, adding that the seven licensees – including Nepal Telecom and Ncell – bought telecom network equipment worth only Rs 6.85 billion in the last fiscal year 2013-14. “However, the service providers had imported Rs 8.38 billion worth telecommunication equipment from international telecom vendors in the fiscal year 2012-13.
Nepal Telecom had imported equipment worth Rs 3.16 billion in the last fiscal year against Rs 5.18 billion a fiscal year ago. Likewise, Ncell bought network equipment of Rs 3 billion in the last fiscal year – up from a fiscal year ago’s Rs 2.44 billion.
Nepal Satellite Telecom and Smart Telecom imported Rs 661.12 million and Rs 7.86 million worth equipments, respectively, in the last fiscal year.
However, remaining two satellite phone service providers, Constellation and I4 Technologies, imported equipment worth Rs 4.73 million and Rs 1.34 million, respectively. United Telecom and STM Telecom Sanchar did not import any equipement last fiscal year, according to the authority.
In the last five years the telecom industry witnessed rapid growth, as the telecom service providers and internet service providers (ISPs) imported telecommunication equipment worth Rs 30.28 billion.
The expansion drive has slowed down in the last fiscal year due to ‘almost saturation’ of voice penetration that has already crossed 90 per cent of the total population. But investment in telecom is going to grow further, if the government assigns spectrum for new services like long term evolution (LTE) or fourth generation (4G).
According to the authority, new equipment is imported for service expansion and upgrading of voice or data service. The telecom service providers generally import structures for microwave and power equipment, mobile switching centres, and base station equipment.
The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) also import equipments for their service expansion. However, Otel Communication – earlier Everest Net – was the only ISP that procured equipment worth Rs 4.2 million in the last fiscal year.
Nepali telecom service providers import from Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation – both from China – the two major global telecommunication equipment suppliers.
Nepal Telecom – Rs 3.16 billion
Ncell – Rs 3 billion
Nepal Satellite Telecom – Rs 661.12 million
Smart Telecom – Rs 7.86 million
I4 Technologies – Rs 1.34 million
Constellation – Rs 4.73 million
Otel Communication – Rs 4.2 million