Mobile Phone Craze and Shameful Failure of Nepal Telecom

In a shameful act today, Nepal Telecom, a government entity, couldn’t provide mobile phones as per the demand and halted the distribution of SIM cards indefinitely

By Dinesh Wagle

If there is any name that represents the incompetence, pessimism and failure in a grand scale in the Nepali corporate sector, it’s undoubtedly Sugatratna Kansakar. It’s a shame that this man is the Managing Director of Nepal Telecom (NT), the country’s telecommunication giant, even after today’s artless drama performed on the streets of Kathmandu and in front of the NT offices. As many as two hundred fifty thousand people stood in the queues leading up to the Nepal Telecom counters in the city hoping to get prepaid SIM cards for the mobile phone. Telecom distributed slightly more than 60 thousand cards amidst chaos and poorly managed system. Such was the customer pressure that NT had to postpone the SIM card distribution abruptly and indefinitely. And here comes the incompetence and failure of Sugatratna Kansakar. He and his company knew that there were hundreds of thousands of people eagerly and tirelessly waiting for SIM cards. NT had refused to distribute the cards despite heavy demands citing, mainly, inadequate infrastructure. Over the several months, we have been told, NT improved and expanded the infrastructure to cater the ever-growing demand of cell phone lines. Today we saw how much improvement Kansakar did in Nepal Telecom.

Yes, everyone in Kathmandu wants to own a mobile phone and many of them are capable of doing so. This is an international phenomena that demands for cell phone is increasing in a staggering manner. Look at our neighboring countries: China and Indian. They are world’s leaders in adding Mobile phone subscribers. Nepal is not behind at least in cell phone. Unfortunately, there is no supply as per the demand.

In the mean time, NT introduced another mobile service, based on CDMA technology, called Sky Phone. This phone didn’t get the desired success among the young customers primarily for four reasons:

1. No roaming: The Sky phone brought in Kathmandu doesn’t work outside the Valley.
2. No SMS: The Sky phone doesn’t support the SMS, a popular service among youth who the majority of pre-paid mobile phones, to NT’s GSM network.
3. No balance transfer: The Sky phone doesn’t let the users transfer balance money like it lets in GSM prepaid network.
4. No choice on set: Until recently, there was no choice for the users of Sky phone to have the set of their desire and the one that NT came as defaults is horrible.

[An obvious question would be: what about Mero Mobile of Spice Cells? That’s hell lot of expensive and is like pouring water in sand. Because all landlines belong to NT that also operates more than a million cell phones, NT is in advantage. NT to Mero Mobile or vice versa is expensive compared to NT to NT. Same with another private sector operator ULT. I prefer NT to these two companies and always encourage people to take NT than the other two. But NT never listens to its customers.]

My brother, a Sky phone user, always complains about the quality of the set and says he misses sending SMS to the larger network of GMS pre- and post-paid mobile phones. For all those reasons Sky phone couldn’t become popular among the youths and working class people.

It is a disappointing fact that Nepal Telecom has traditionally failed to provide phone lines as per the demands. There are tens of thousands of people still waiting for the landlines. We can understand that expanding landline or the basic phone lines is difficult compared to the mobile service. But Nepal Telecom only talked, it never acted. This company is one of the few Nepali government-owned companies that are enjoying healthy profit and there is immense possibility of its business expansion. Don’t misunderstand that the profit is because of the efficiency maintained by the NT staffs. IT’S NOT. It’s because it’s easy for NT, unlike Nepal Electricity Authority, to collect the tariff and there is hardly any chance to have revenue leakage (except in international calls that are made through the Internet which, given the worldwide development on that front, shouldn’t be considered a leakage but the regulation problem.) Even with so much possibility of business expansion without any risk, NT is not doing what it should be doing.

This is all because of the mindset of the folks like Kansakar who are more into having job and getting perks and grand salaries than doing the business.

Related News Links
1. NT prepaid SIM-card distribution draws overwhelming response
2.NT starts distribution of new pre-paid SIM-cards

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62 thoughts on “Mobile Phone Craze and Shameful Failure of Nepal Telecom”

  1. And thanks for the second lecture on puret and power etc. That puret is also a NBC Delhi staff as far as I can guess. Or may be CNN Bangkok staff, for a change.

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  2. Thank you for the debate Mr. Wagle.

    We, as the readers of your articles judge you, regardless of whether someone “posts” a comments or keeps the judgement to one’s self.

    In this case I decided to spend some time vetting judgments against your ethics since you are STILL claiming that your articles against the Madhesis are backed by hearsay facts and so called “pictures.”

    “Pictures of dead bodies” are not facts since the bodies are themselves not alive to tell you who really killed them.

    What is the fact is that your mind is so biased you still deny that the Madhesis are truly entitled to not only 50% of the political power in Nepal, but in fact some sort of Affirmative action to correct the mistakes your “indian” ancestors have made against them for the last 300+ years.

    Why don’t you ever admit to the fact that your last name is still a common last name in India and that you have no right yourself to speak against the people of Terai who are at least proud enough of their own heritage to not Deny the origin of the blood that runs in their veins.

    You know what? even if you might consider yourself a little fairer, for Americans you are still a brownie, and I am sure you felt that way in your “short trip” to the US on the invitation of the US Govt. Oh we Still remember you were so excited you even scanned the invitation and published it !

    Why don’t you admit that in America people of Nepali origin (same for Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh) are generally assumed as being Indians by their looks Dark or Fair !

    Yes I am an American and I know these things like the back of my head, regardless of what you might say. You really do not have Blond hair and Blue eyes Mr Wagle.

    Donald Trump once said about Nepal on the David Letterman Show on CBS television.

    “I am not like those people from Nepal who are so desperate to separate themselves from the Indian identity and are yet so helpless, they drink Philipino Beer and go beat their wives up at night”

    I, for one, would never reveal my identity to you because your anger truly scares me. Hey but come to the US and I will see you with my sawed off shot gun and do you a Dick Cheney !

    Don’t judge your readers so publicly, it only makes you look bad believe me. No one even knows my name yes you’re right and why would I ever disclose it.

    THis is the beauty of free Speech, and I admire you for carrying on this debate, but you truly ARE the “Angry Wagle”

    Like

  3. I really should have chosen something other than NBC, maybe Christian Science Monitor would have been better since I am still going to stay anonymous.

    why don’t you try and Sue them one by one like you threatened me? if you can threaten an anonymous and harmless poster, god knows what you would do in person.

    Holy Cow !

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  4. Good debate going on. I am liking it. Wagle if you are being a ‘journlaist’ blogger you have to be neutral. I know that you all get funding from SPAm (in some way or other). Or at least you are a supporter of SPAm and that takes out your credibility. You are not blogging for ‘Democracy’…you are blogging for ‘Propaganda’ against the traditional mindsets of people.

    And you are seeing it here itself that almost 50%-60% people are against what you write and see you as biased.

    I have never seen a single post ever from you criticizing what SPAm does. In democracy every party makes mistakes…and we have well known 7 criminal parties…aren’t they making any mistakes…? How democratic is it to amend constitution as and when you wish…as if it were your underwears? Is this Democracy? They haven’t got any Elections and they are amending the entire constitution as if the country is their footwear. I posted an article by Mithun Jung that talks about constitution changes…you must read it.

    If you indeed are blogging ‘United for Democracy’…than do it that way! Or else you are ‘blogging for Prostitute Democracy’ and you are certainly not in sync and United with others.

    Being a ‘journalist’ you carry some responsibility…you should carry it with care otherwise you would get down in the same Yellow Journalism league…

    People have aleady made up their minds that My Sansar, UWB and gang were formed to carry out a massive propaganda.

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  5. Wagle, I am sorry but you are a Sham. I was just reading news about Terai. It has broken…it’s burning there. The businesses have died and Businessmen are being thrashed. Is this Loktantra?

    Damn, I better be under (Autocratic) King where I get peace rather than brutal murderers.

    Like

  6. There is a small work in my bank that needs to be done today. As I was signing out to rush towards there, saw your comment and smiled reading the whole text! So decided to file a quick reply!

    We, as the readers of your articles judge you, regardless of whether someone “posts” a comments or keeps the judgement to one’s self.

    >> Agree but I as a writer, let me say, I don’t always have to follow their judgment. Did you read what Bijay Kumar told me? No offence but there are many readers with their own agendas and vested interests.

    In this case I decided to spend some time vetting judgments against your ethics since you are STILL claiming that your articles against the Madhesis are backed by hearsay facts and so called “pictures.”

    >> Yes, yes, I still claim. The articles were not against Madhesis. One palace sponsored Upendra Yadav doesn’t represent Madhesis.

    “Pictures of dead bodies” are not facts since the bodies are themselves not alive to tell you who really killed them.

    >> Oh..ho, NBC aka CSM staff, here comes anther divine line: pictures of dead bodies are not facts! No comment on this really!

    What is the fact is that your mind is so biased you still deny that the Madhesis are truly entitled to not only 50% of the political power in Nepal, but in fact some sort of Affirmative action to correct the mistakes your “indian” ancestors have made against them for the last 300+ years.

    >> It’s your “fact” that I deny respectable representation of Madhesis in Nepali politics. My fact is that I am for the Madhesi rights. Why I was against the Updenra Yadav’s tandab in Madhes is because the whole thing had ill intention of disruption the CA election and destabilizing the SPA government and providing ground to Gyanendra against democracy.

    Why don’t you ever admit to the fact that your last name is still a common last name in India and that you have no right yourself to speak against the people of Terai who are at least proud enough of their own heritage to not Deny the origin of the blood that runs in their veins.

    >> Now! My last name a common name in India! What the hell has that to do with me? Do you know there is one senator with Wagle surname in the state of Kansas, the NBC/CSM staff?

    You know what? even if you might consider yourself a little fairer, for Americans you are still a brownie, and I am sure you felt that way in your “short trip” to the US on the invitation of the US Govt.

    >> Again, you are venting your anger against your American “bosses” with me! That’s your problem dude. And No comment on this.

    Oh we Still remember you were so excited you even scanned the invitation and published it!

    >> Of course, I was excited. Why not? Have you ever received such invitation?

    Why don’t you admit that in America people of Nepali origin (same for Pakistan, Srilanka and Bangladesh) are generally assumed as being Indians by their looks Dark or Fair !

    >> Why should I admit that, dude? I thought you were talking about my “biased and irresponsible” journalism.

    Yes I am an American and I know these things like the back of my head, regardless of what you might say. You really do not have Blond hair and Blue eyes Mr Wagle.

    >>Okay, okay you can safely claim that you are American, or English or whatever comes to your mind. Glad to know that you are not Nepali. Here is a suggestion: stick to your NBC coverage then showing interest in Nepali politics! It’s too complex to understand for a NBC Delhi staff who watches Trump talking to Letterman on CBS.

    I, for one, would never reveal my identity to you because your anger truly scares me.

    >>Good, you must be scared! I like that!!

    Hey but come to the US and I will see you with my sawed off shot gun and do you a Dick Cheney !

    >> The guy wasn’t killed, was he? But for the US State Department guests, the security arrangement was pretty satisfactory to keep the rascals away!

    Don’t judge your readers so publicly, it only makes you look bad believe me. No one even knows my name yes you’re right and why would I ever disclose it.

    >> Well, you are not a reader, are you? You are the NBC Delhi Staff! I think I can judge them remarkably well.

    THis is the beauty of free Speech, and I admire you for carrying on this debate, but you truly ARE the “Angry Wagle”

    >>Yes, and I am enjoying that beauty very well. I also admire you for your views! You are no less angrier, dude. At least, I hadn’t talked about doing Dick Cheney! I was merely playing Golf, dude!

    Like

  7. Is Wagle and Puspa Dahal the same person? Terai is burning and Pushpa Dahal says Royalists are doing. And here is Wagle and he says the same.

    And what about this, “YCL cadres thrash businessman in Biratnagar”. Is YCL run by King Gyanendra? How propagandist and irresponsible can Wagle get? Recently it came to fore that SPAM and YCL kidnapped 20 marwaris and extorted around 500 million rupees. That is also Royalists doing it? Now, if Marwaris take up arms against SPAM for their protection they would also be Royalists. Thank gawd, Marwaris have some brains and self-respect…unlike you Wagle and gang.

    And stop being a nonsense that King Gyanendra is doing this and that…you have House Arrested all of the ‘so-called’ Royalists as one of the commentator ‘b’ was saying here. Anyone who speaks against the atrocities of SPAM will be branded something and will be thrown into prison or house arrested. Damn rascals don’t want elections and will blame others for not having it!

    __________________________________

    YCL cadres thrash businessman in Biratnagar

    A leading businessman has been thrashed by cadres of Young Communist League (YCL) and pro-Maoist union activists in Biratnagar on Tuesday.

    Shyam Sundar Sharda of Sharda Group of Industries was physically thrashed, garlanded with shoes and paraded around the city by the Maoist activists who accused him of framing an abduction of one of their members. He was later hospitalised.

    Sharda has been accused of seeking help of Indian criminals to abduct his driver Raj Kumar Rajdhami who happens to be a member of pro-Maoist workers union.

    Following the incident, business community in Biratnagar have shut down their activities accusing the administration and police of remaining mute spectator when Sharda was being paraded around the city.

    In another incident, Kantipur TV reported that a foreign employment entrepreneur Sher Bahadur Raut has been abducted by YCL in Kathmandu.

    Raut has been missing since last three days, according to his wife Kalpana Raut. She said that the Maoists have conceded that her husband is under their control. The Maoists claimed they were investigating case of cheating, she said. nepalnews.com sd Apr 10 07

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  8. I don’t agree with Wagle’s anger when he says that for 300 years the Pahadis exploited the Madhesis…it’s absurd. There are MANY MANY rich people in terai. If you work hard…you get rich. It’s simple. The exploitation of Madhesis is on both sides of the border…how rich are the people in UP and Bihar? Duh, with your argument.

    If there is peace you get rich. Post 1990 we haven’t seen any peace and hence no progress and prosperity.

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  9. to be fair to wagle’s anger, noname has good logic but it seems as if his facts could be misleading.

    just a couple of minutes of research in good old google and you can find out few things

    Bihar and UP (who are both considered a little lawless) have over 100 times higher GDP than of Nepal. (http://uttarpradesh.takingitglobal.org/)

    It also doesn’t seem fair to say that not having peace since 1990 has resulted in millions of Nepalis living in the same country, albeit in the south, without even citizenship certificates.

    how can you claim that MANY MANY people in the terai region are rich when over 80% of the teraians do not even have the “legal right” to own anything in their own names due to the lack of the citizenship paper?

    thank you

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  10. 1) Compare the GDP of UP and Bihar with GDP of Pre 1990…I only want that.

    Post 1990 all of Nepal is a disaster … not just Terai

    2) When you do the comparison…take in mind the population of Nepal…the industrial ability of India vis à vis India as a big country. The population of Indian states

    3) It’s absurd and weird to even compare the GDP of any Indian state (specially the big ones) with Nepal
    There is no way you can compare anything of Nepal with India – specially when it comes to economics

    4) If you really have to do some comparison…I would say do the comparison of HDI (Human Development Index)…pre 1990 Nepal with Pre 1990 Bihar, UP anad India
    You will invariably realise that pre 1990 Nepal was a Heaven when India (specially Bihar and UP) were living hell on earth

    And if you want to get citizenship, they are being sold for 3000 rupees now, please run and buy and have the opportunity to make ‘Naya Nepal’.
    And yes, please, at the same time give Indian Ration card (you don’t have citizenship cards in India) to around 20+ million refugees or people from neighbouring countries who have lived in India or worked in India for last 60 years. Please ask your government to do that. The problem with Indians is that they think they are Correct while others are wrong. That’s the Arrogant attitude of Indians. They NEVER accept their mistakes and hence they never have any good relationship with anyone!

    P.S.: I am not saying that people in our Nepal’s terai don’t have problems. I am just saying that YOU Indians should stop interfering in our matters and then we will solve our problems. You support the evils (SPAM) of country and evil comes back to haunt you.

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  11. Wagle,

    Besides most of the statements you have responded to being silly, your response itself makes me confirm without any hesitation that you are a clown. I hope that it is’nt actually you Wagle under the blog name UWB-Wagle (15:22:25). I really sincerely hope. And the reason for this hope is personal, and it begins and ends with the question – If this is the aptitutde of the blog creator and implementor then what the hell am I doing participating? Same goes for several other seemingly smart bloggers, what are they doing here? Lack of participation would lead to a quick end to this comedy.

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  12. I read the first few “comments” and didn’t feel like reading the rest…. I think… on this post by Wagle, we’re talking about the only profitable business owned by Nepal Government…

    …. wagle is not really concerned about “Nepalese not gettng Mobile Phones” … i dont think he even cares about it…. here, we’re talking about a government owned company that could make so much money…. just like VSNL in India… which then could be contributed towards developing TELECOM infrastructure in villages… … and the administration cares less…

    … Businessmen are watering their mouth… looking at all the money that they could make, if they could take over Nepal Telecom… they even tried… but.. there were circumstances that stopped the takeover….. and I guess, it would be much better for Nepalese living in Kathmandu, in Villages… and overseas… if Nepal Telecom was privatised… atleast ppl living abroad could make cheap calls to Nepal…… as NepalTelecom would legalise VOIP system…. they would want to make more money… expanding their business Nationwide, even in villages…. save on taxes if they setup a new infrastructure in some remote village…. and so on……

    ….. and so on…

    i guess that is what wagle meant to express with this post… not that he is worried abt… us getting to own a mobile phone!!

    Like

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