The Wait for 5G in Nepal: A Deep Dive into the Delays and Implications

The Wait for 5G in Nepal: A Deep Dive into the Delays and Implications
Credit goes to Kathmandu Post

As the world rapidly embraces the fifth generation of wireless technology, known as 5G, Nepal finds itself in a state of anticipation. The promise of 10 times faster internet speed and the ability to support 10 times more devices per square kilometer than its predecessor, 4G, has been repeatedly postponed. This article explores the reasons behind the delay, the implications for the country, and the potential impact of 5G on Nepal's digital landscape.

The Promise of 5G: A Revolution in Connectivity

5G technology promises to revolutionize the way we connect and communicate. With speeds up to 10 times faster than 4G, it offers the potential for seamless streaming, instantaneous downloads, and real-time communication. Moreover, its capacity to support a significantly higher number of devices per square kilometer makes it an ideal solution for densely populated urban areas and for powering the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Delayed Rollout: Geopolitics or Laziness?

The state-owned Nepal Telecom has been at the forefront of the 5G rollout in Nepal. However, the company has repeatedly postponed the launch of 5G trials. While some insiders attribute the delay to geopolitical concerns, others blame it on a lack of urgency within the company. The company has begun internal trials in Kathmandu, Birgunj, and Pokhara, but public tests are yet to commence.

The Device Dilemma: Are There Enough 5G Compatible Phones?

One of the reasons cited by Nepal Telecom for the delay in the 5G rollout is the lack of 5 G-compatible phones in Kathmandu and other cities. However, import records show that millions of mobile phones with advanced features have been imported in the last two years. Mobile dealers argue that most of these devices are suitable for 5G networks, indicating that the device argument may not hold water.

The Geopolitical Angle: A Possible Factor?

In February, two government officials suggested that the 5G rollout may have been caught up in geopolitics. Nepal Telecom had contracted two Chinese companies—Hong Kong-based China Communication Service International (CCSI) and ZTE, one of China’s leading telecom equipment manufacturers—for an Rs19 billion 4G expansion project throughout the country. As part of the agreement, ZTE and Huawei would also provide equipment to conduct 5G trials for free. However, Nepal Telecom officials have dismissed these allegations.

The Government's Stance: No Rush for 5G?

The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has expressed that there is no immediate need to launch 5G. They argue that since the 4G rollout has not been completed everywhere and it has not been fully operationalized across the country, there is no immediate need to launch 5G.

The Global Context: India's 5G Success

India rolled out 5G technology in October last year, and within six months of its launch, there were 50 million 5G customers, according to Indian media reports. This rapid adoption of 5G technology in India underscores the potential for 5G in Nepal, provided the rollout is executed effectively.

The Future of 5G in Nepal: A Waiting Game

As Nepal waits for the 5G rollout, it's clear that the implications of this delay are far-reaching. The advent of 5G technology could significantly enhance connectivity, drive digital innovation, and propel Nepal into a new era of technological advancement. However, the repeated postponements raise questions about the country's readiness to embrace this new technology.

The wait for 5G in Nepal is a complex issue, influenced by a multitude of factors ranging from geopolitics to internal organizational challenges. As the world moves towards a more connected future, it is crucial for Nepal to address these challenges and pave the way for the 5G revolution. The potential benefits of 5G technology, from faster internet speeds to the ability to support a higher number of devices, make it a game-changer for Nepal's digital landscape.

The Impact of 5G: A New Era of Connectivity

The introduction of 5G technology will usher in a new era of connectivity in Nepal. With high speeds, superior reliability, and negligible latency, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem into new realms. It has the potential to impact every industry, making safer transportation, remote healthcare, precision agriculture, digitized logistics, and more a reality. The delay in the rollout of 5G technology is not just a delay in faster internet speeds, but a delay in the realization of these possibilities.

The Role of Telecom Companies: A Call for Action

Telecom companies, particularly Nepal Telecom, play a crucial role in the rollout of 5G technology. The repeated postponements and the lack of clear communication have raised questions about their preparedness for this technological shift. It is essential for these companies to address these concerns and take proactive steps toward the successful implementation of 5G technology.

The Government's Role: Facilitating the 5G Rollout

The government, too, has a significant role to play in facilitating the 5G rollout. From ensuring the availability of the necessary spectrum to addressing potential geopolitical concerns, the government's actions will be instrumental in determining the timeline and success of the 5G rollout.

The journey towards 5G in Nepal is fraught with challenges, but the potential benefits make it a journey worth undertaking. As the world embraces the 5G revolution, it is crucial for Nepal to overcome these hurdles and join the global march toward a more connected and efficient future.