Information on mobile phone adoption across Nepal is readily available if you know where to look. Here is a list of information and sources that helps us understand the mobile landscape.
Before we get started, the reader must understand Nepal’s divisions. Nepal is divided into 5 Development regions, 14 Administrative zones, 75 Districts,. Kathmandu is the only self governing metropolitan municipality that is divided into wards. Pokhara, Biratnagar, Lalitpur and Birgunj are all considered sub-metropolitan municipalities.
Reports by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) are divided down to the Municipality and VDC level. Additional information may be available at the ward level for Kathmandu by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office.
The CBS performs a census every 10 years. The estimated population of Nepal in 2011 was 26,494,504 people (49% Male, 51% Female) according to the National Population and Housing Census 2011 General and Social Characteristics Tables Table 01 (PDF page 10).
Note: This source contains extremely valuable information if you’re interested in subdividing demographic and health data.
Mobile Phone Adoption
The 2011 Census National Report identified that 64.63% of households have access to a mobile phone across Nepal with 84.07% of Urban and 59.98% of Rural households having mobile phone access (Major Highlights; PDF page 14).
The Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) is responsible for issuing mobile phone licenses to providers. They have a fantastic Management Information System and make monthly metrics available on their website. NCell is currently the largest mobile service provider with 49% market share and Nepal Telecom (NTC) second at 44% market share. Most importantly, there are 22,502,602 mobile subscriptions as of the NTA-MIS-88 report. It’s common practice for individuals to have multiple SIM cards, so this number doesn’t suggest that 88% of the population has access to a mobile phone. Another important note is that 38% of mobile subscribers access the internet through GPRS, Edge and WCDMA technologies commonly known as 3G data connectivity. Finally, land line and WiMax internet connectivity only accounts for 5% of total internet penetration across the country.
Note: Nepal Telecom is reported in the MIS reports as NDCL Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited
Internet Connectivity Options
NTC is the major internet provider across the country. See my other post about content delivery in Nepal. The majority of subscribers access the internet through ADSL. ADSL connectivity goes out frequently at our field offices. However, we could not directly link this to loadshedding. NTC also offers a service called WiMAX that uses long range wireless technology to connect you to the internet. This connection tends to be more stable than ADSL, but requires greater startup and monthly costs.
The Nepal Electric Authority uses loadshedding because there isn’t enough supply of power to meet the demands of the country. Kathmandu is divided into loadshedding groups by the NEA. You have to know your group to be able to use the loadshedding schedules. The best way is to ask someone. As of this writing, I couldn’t find a publicly available map of loadshedding groups. The vast majority of power in Nepal comes from hydroelectric power plants. Additionally, Nepal purchases power from India in the Western and Far Western regions.
Kathmandu Water Supply Outages
Water supply outages in the Kathmandu valley are common. This may impact your ability to water cool servers if that’s your thing. I could not find a current outages schedule, but the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) is responsible for managing the water supply in the valley.
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📅 29.09.2014 📁