NT WiMAX? Where did Nepal Telecom failed?

Nepal Telecom launched the WiMAX, a fourth generation broadband internet,for the first time in Nepal in 2012. But with time, nepal telecom has failed to grow this service and have reached in isolate state. In this post we will cover this topic in details.

WiMAX was officially launched in Nepal in 12th November 2012 for corporate and government organizations. Later, it was formally opened for general public a year later in 27th March 2013. By April 2013, there were 1,203 subscribers. During that time, there were not other ISP in nepal that would provide this 4th generation broadband wireless services. Wireless internet services, cable internet, ADSL and dial up were the dominant in market for providing internet services. Fiber internet service was just a concept in Nepal and was limited in a very small places. Though telecom operator were using Fiber for back haul connectivity between towers but was not readibly available for public uses. We will cover the trend line of WiMAX users in Nepal and it’s problems that leads to immortal state.

In summary, WiMAX is Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access based on IEEE 802.16 protocol. It is the fourth generation technology that have speed of 30-40 Mbps in long range. It is considered to be the competitive of LTE network. For more details about WiMAX check this link.

WiMAX was inherited in Nepal by NT in-order to improve the socio-economic status by providing broadband internet connectivity in every places in Nepal. After their formal launch for general public in 2013, NT claimed this service is available in 70 districts and will be available in all 75(now 77) districts.

Nepal Telecom wimax subscribers
Fig: Nepal Telecom WiMAX subscribers

As from above table, we can see that there was little growth in users upto 2074 BS but in one year from 2074 to 2075 there were massive increase and reach to 85,376 subscribers. After that year, by Baisakh of 2076 BS there were 87,977 subscribers. As we can notice, there were only 2 thousand users increase in whole 1 year. Now lets compare with the Fiber users in that similar time period.

fiber subscribers trendline in nepal
Fig: Fiber subscribers Trend line in Nepal

If we look the trend line of Fiber subscribers in nepal,yearly there is growth of 100%. In 2073 BS, there were about 15000 subscribers of WiMAX and about 20,000 subscribers of Fiber but after that, Fiber is capturing the internet market. There are many reason for this. We will highlight some of the main topic.

1. WiMAX expensive plan: To use wimax, users need to pay for the device. After purchasing the device also, there were volume based data plan. So users who needed unlimited plan were not benefited from this service. In opposite, ISP begin to provide unlimited plan in fiber and other wireless internet service, so customers were attracted to fiber and wireless.

2. Reliable fiber internet: With time, fiber services have been reliable as there were very minimal issue regarding connection and loss.

3. WiMAX un-portability connection: For wimax, fixed device should be used. NT have provided three device named USB dongle, In door unit(IDU) and Out door Unit(ODU). So users cannot connect WiMAX direct to their smartphones. This instead was solved by other broadband ISP like Broadlink, Worldlink, etc by providing wireless network.

This were the major issue that NT couldn’t take WiMAX in the race of internet services which lead to born and rise of other internet options in market. However, alternative services proved themselves to be the stronger ones.

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