Nepal Telecom WiMAX Broadband Wireless Service – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Frequently asked questions, FAQs, Questions and Answers Q&NNepal WiMAX Project has finally shown up after 2 years of announcement from Nepal Telecom (read our earlier article: WiMAX in Nepal finally a reality – Nepal Telecom launches WiMAX.) As usual, Team TechSansar has prepared a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Nepal Telecom WiMAX with the help of academic experts, telco engineers, ICT Consultants, fellow bloggers and friends. If you have any queries about WiMAX Nepal by NTC, you can comment at the end of the page.

1. What is WiMAX and what is its context with Nepal Telecom?

Much talked, done little. As with other communication technologies, WiMAX ( IEEE 802.16) is one of the most talked communication technologies in Nepal Telecom‘s to-do-list of the F/Y 2069/70 BS. WiMAX is supposed to foster country’s economy after deployment of broadband in rural and remote areas (as was agreed upon.) WiMAX, a 4G wireless broadband access technology for data communication over a long distance, is a high-end competitor of another 4G technology LTE, which aims at providing broadband internet up to the maximum speed of 40 Mbps over mobile recipient and upto 1Gbps over stationary station.

2. Is WiMAX Cellular? Can WiMAX work in my mobile phone/ smartphone set?

Initially perceived as an alternative to cable and DSL technologies, WiMAX matured as 4G data communication technology however lacked the voice or telephony functionality over network at large. However, voice over broadband(VoBB) can still be implemented, sadly there is no backward compatibility with existing 3G operatios and network around the world.

Nepal WiMAX Project by Nepal Telecom
Nepal WiMAX Project by Nepal Telecom
Cellular refer to as the communication technologies which uses cells as the coverage area, not necessarily circular areas (surprisingly most of them are regular hexagon) and like the existing 2.5G & 3G mobile cellular communications WiMAX also operates in cell coverage, but in large coverage area that’s what makes WiMAX feasible and important. It is unlikely that Nepal Telecom is interested in telecommunication capability of WiMAX services in Nepal.
Sadly, WiMAX receiver is different from our mobile phone or smartphone’s data receiver antennae, that’s why you cannot directly use/connect WiMAX broadband Internet in your even in latest model of iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or other high end smartphones. However, there are many reports that select devices from HTC and Nokia are WiMAX Compatible.

3. What is the tariff of Internet packages for Nepal Telecom WiMAX?

The first round of broadband Internet package for WiMAX service is expected at around NRs 650 per 5 GB volume. This means NTC is going towards volume based package in WiMAX like in EVDO 1x 3G Package, which doesn’t fit the chemistry here. You bring a high speed internet (? we can’t still be sure if NTC’s WiMAX will really be fast enough to call it high speed, sorry about that) and charge consumer for package, it isn’t fair. NTA should take care of, and enforce NTC for unlimited package as in today’s ADSL but with improved and promised bandwidth.

Basic broadband package (256 Kbps) @ volume packages of 5 to 30 GB starting from Rs 650/month and SME package (512 Kbps) @ volume packages of 8 to 30 GB starting from Rs 850/month. Looks like NTC is just complying with broadband definition of Nepal ie 256 Kbps to refer to the basic package (could we expect more in here?) ~ data correct as of October 1, 2012

4. Can I make a phone/VoIP call after subscribing to WiMAX from NTC?

Well, a press release from Nepal Telecom in 2069/04/16 states like this:

IP Based प्रविधिमा आधारित Wireless (NGN), WiMAX, IP CDMA, Transmission Network जस्ता उपकरणहरु जडान गरी Voice, Data र Video सहितको गुणस्तरीय दूरसञ्चार सेवा उपलब्ध गराउने ।

This means the Next Generation Network of Wireless, WiMAX and IP CDMA Network shall all be based in IP funda, and so should basically provide IP-number based telephony system in addition to broadband Internet data package. However, we all know that NT don’t have IP based telephony system built as of now, it is hard to ensure that we could make a phone call after subscribing to WiMAX Service from NTC. Expect just an Internet package, atleast for a couple of year (by then things would be different.)

Since VoIP call within Nepal is illegal, we don’t expect any VoIP call subscription package but NTC can promote their VoIP calling package for the foreign countries called EasyPhone NTC VoBB SIP Phone. (Read: List of legal VoIP providers in Nepal)

5. How do user access Internet from WiMAX? What does WiMAX receiver or WiMAX USB Plug looks like?

WiMAX Receiver - What does WiMAX receiver or WiMAX USB Plug looks like?So, by this time you must have known that the signal receiving technology in all, if not most, of the Wireless technologies is more or less the same. The WiMAX receiver or the receiver for WiMAX Wireless Broadband internetwork can either be standalone router like device, or the USB card which can be plug and play. Depending upon, how Nepal Telecom will authorize or sell the card – with UIM (similar to SIM for 2G and 3G technology) or without any modules but with network lock, devices will function. In many cases 3G USB dongle can work in receiving WiMAX signals, and even 4G LTE signals. All we have to do is wait and see, what Nepal Telecom WiMAX Project has to offer to us.

The cost of USB dongle is about Rs 3,000. And luckily, it is already available in many gadget shops in New Road. If you aren’t sure about one, go for Spirint (the USA one, which could hardly be found) if not Chinese WiMAX USB dongle or receiver.

Read: How to connect to internet using 3G EVDO Devices in NTC Service?

6. What are the differences between LTE vs WiMAX vs WiFi technologies? Do Nepal have all of them?

LTE and WiMAX are 4G (tele)communication technologies. LTE 4G voice and data networks are not yet deployed in Nepal, WiMAX 4G WAN data network was approved by MoIC back in 2010, WiFi is merely a Wireless LAN with variable range which you can observe from a wireless network as small as in homes to as large as one by Wireless ISPs around the country.

Check this head to head comparison of LTE vs WiMAX vs WiFi technologies.

7. How does Nepal Telcom WiMAX Work?

Not exactly in depth piece of pie in here. However, here is the borrowed description of how Nepal Telecom WiMAX works from How Stuffs Work, and the same applies to other WiMAX technologies around the world.

How WiMAX Works illustration?
  • WiMAX tower is similar in concept to a cell-phone tower. A single WiMAX tower can provide coverage to a very large area  as big as 3,000 square miles (~8,000 square km)
  • WiMAX receiver – The receiver and antenna could be a small box or PCMCIA card, or they could be built into a laptop the way Wi-Fi access in today.

8. What is the Technical details/Specs of WiMAX by Nepal Telecom?

Not much has been release to the public about details technical specifications of the WiMAX by NTC, but we would like to share the best from our knowledge and reports.

  • WiMAX IEEE 802.16 frequency spectrum : 2.3 GHz
  • Worked out cell coverage : 10 sq. km


9. I see something is not going morale with WiMAX in Kathmandu Valley. Isn’t NTC Cheating with the country, they were suppose to test and deploy WiMAX in rural area first and then extend service back to the cities/towns?

Hats off you true Nepalese friend. You catcha!

This is absolutely true that when WiMAX license (read the next question to learn about WiMAX license in Nepal, you have been warned don’t get surprised!) was given to NT by the Authority, NT was supposed to deploy WiMAX first at rural or remote area, which is a general trend in developing economies and which is the first criteria ITU approve for rural broadband. However, you can see the initiation. Just imagine taking WiMAX from Kathmandu to Jumla, can you trust NT in this? Shouldn’t they be doing it the reverse (and if NT has question here, it was all technically and technologically viable and feasible to get started from Jumla, but the will power.)

We shall be posting some surprising evidence of this here soon!

10. Was WiMAX license ever auctioned in Nepal? When was WiMAX approved in Nepal?

Still scratching our heads, btw we have asked this question to the authority for confirmation. Let’s wait a couple of days, oops a couple of weeks.

We heard that there was no frequency auction made (as usual) but NTC was offered for free, and private ISPs/Companies are yet to be distributed the frequency.

11. Why NT only? Why not other private ISPs or other companies for the WiMAX? Has NT the sole authority if yes where did it came from?

Gosh! You making it very difficult to answer. Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has provided WiMAX frequency spectrum to Nepal Telcom (NT) for free. Right now Nepal telecom is the sole provider of WiMAX service in Nepal since they were the first to launch it. Private ISPs or other companies are still waiting for WiMAX frequency spectrum allocation (auction?) to them.

12. I heard that LTE is going to dominate 4G Cellular industry. Is the decision of Nepal Telecom to bring WiMAX in the country really best for the nation both in terms of technology and the national benifits?

We think, you got the answer already. What do you call a person who installs 32-bit OS in a computer with 6GB of RAM, or say what do you call a person just read the top features of Windows 8 in the morning and buys Windows XP from the market the same afternoon?

13. What might other private ISPs (or even NTC) might bring in value added with the WiMAX service to foster economy in the rural Nepal?

Very interesting, and very promising when broadband is available in rural Nepal. When the WiMAX service is available in whole of Nepal (let’s focus in the rural and remote Nepal, atleast the cities have Internet), it might foster the economy – from agriculture to education to telemedicine to poverity reduction by use of ICT4D. The private/public operators can operate VoIP calls including video conferencing (wish they could legalize in-country calls as well, if not merge the traditional numbering system with the IP calls), telebanking to good governance practices.

All of the above questions were asked by TechSansar’s users, directly from the site and the social platforms. You can ask more questions by commenting below.

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