Int'l Roaming with Nepal Telecom's NTPro app VoIP Service, what you need to know?

If you still remember, some 6 years ago Nepal Telecom had introduced their first ever softphone based SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) service named “Easy Phone Service” which was perceived as VoIP initiation from the NT. However, then and now still using VoIP service to make calls within Nepal is very expensive but not illegal. Now, on the first quarter of 2016, Nepal Telecom has launched NTPro – the international roaming mobile app service for Telecom’s GMS postpaid users. In this article, we review NTPro app & it’s VoIP service for the customers.

NT Pro for International Roaming with Nepal Telecom
NT Pro for International Roaming with Nepal Telecom

With NTPro, Nepal Telecom GSM post-paid users can make calls to any numbers in Nepal Telecom network as well as can receive all calls while away from home network. This provides high quality of voice and video features over Wi-Fi or any data network. When customer is out of network, call forwarding to a specified number is required to receive calls in NTPro.

There’s no need to check the account balance before you make a call. Call charges will be deducted from your post-paid balance. Customers can make and receive calls at cheaper price while roaming. Multi-party (ad-hoc) conference, meet-me conference, free instant messaging and video talk within NTPro customers, call wait, call forward etc are additional features.

What is NTPro – app or VoIP or service?

NTPro from Nepal Telecom is a mobile app that allows you to receive regular phone calls via mobile application while roaming internationally. Callers will call on your home country’s regular GSM postpaid phone number and you will receive the call on the smartphone’s app called NTPro, for sure your phone needs internet connectivity during the calls.
Hence, NTPro is basically service provided via a mobile app that serves as a VoIP service at the end user’s side (receiver) while at the caller’s side it’s still the same traditional telephony system.

Nepal Telecom VoIP NTPro App Use screen
Nepal Telecom VoIP NTPro App Use screen

How to subscribe NTPro?

  1. Ensure you are a Nepal Telecom’s GSM Postpaid user ie you have a 985xxxxxxx mobile number.
  2. Install NTPro Mobile app. Download NTPro Android App here. NT says NTPro for iOS (iPhone) is coming soon!
  3. Get your username and password for NTPro (send SMS to 1428 with content sub ntpro) This is something you should do before traveling abroad or roaming. *Check the cost of using NTPro below.
  4. Now you need to forward your mobile number to receive calls in NTPro app. This forwarding number is provided during the time of registration on step 3 by SMS. You need to use USSD dialing of the string which is in the format of *62*775XXXXXXX# This is your unique call forwarding number that takes regular telephony calls at Nepal Telecom’s side and forwards it to your NTPro app using VoIP channel.
  5. Everything set. It’s time to take your flight, land and connect Internet to your mobile phone to use NTPro and receive regular calls on it.

NTPro Tarrif & Cost

Users of NTPro can receive phone calls on their same mobile number during abroad travel. Not only this but they can still call any mobile number (including Ncell and other operators) or PSTN landline or even international ISD number directly from the NTPro app’s dialer pad just like they used to use their phone while in Nepal.

  • Rental charge of using NTPro is Rs 100 per month.
  • Any phone calls received in or dialed from NTPro cost Rs 6 per minute. If your family members call you on your regular phone number from Nepal and you receive it on NTPro, they will be paying regular rate of Re 1 but you as a receiver should also pay this charge of Rs 6 per minute. Hence, Rs 7 (+ taxes) per minute of total call is deducted in combined.
  • Plus, for outgoing International calls, you will be charged Rs 6 + actual ISD charge per minute. And this is going to be whooping high rate.
  • Voice calls from NTPro app to NTPro app is free (this is VoIP to VoIP).
  • Chat or Instant messaging between NTPro app to NTPro app is free (this is just like using iMessage in iOS or Viber or Skype messages.)
  • Video calls between NTPro app to NTPro app is also free (this is just like using Facetime or video call in Viber or Skype.)

Comparison of NTPro cost & popular VoIP Services

Clearly, NTPro service is the cheapest and affordable VoIP service among popular ones. And it is the only service, us Nepalese can purchase in Nepal in Nepalese rupees. Plus those traveling abroad can avail of NTPro service by taking the same SIM card which they use while in Nepal. Just need to take care to keep the SIM active.

Service Calls to Nepal (Rs, per minute)
NTPro Rs 7.45 (+ monthly subscription fee of Rs 100)
Viber 17.5 ¢ (Rs 18.57)
Skype 20.7 ¢ (Rs 21.97)
Line 17 ¢ (Rs 18.04)
Google Voice/Chat/Hangouts 10 ¢ (Rs 10.61)
Rynga (Mobile VoIP) Rs 11

Based on Google exchange rate of April 30, 2016. Cost of all third party VoIP services on Pay as you Go (PAYG) plan. Calls inclusive of taxes.

Cons of NTPro Service

For sure, NTPro VoIP app or service comes with bundles of constraints and limitations. Some are just not inline with what Nepal Telecom says on their website. So, here are the disadvantages or limitations of NTPro we encountered.
If you forget your password while on roaming, you need to panic (unlike NTPro FAQ on Telecom’s webpage) this is because you can’t send shortcode SMS to 1428 using the SIM’s service (or get ready to pay Int’l roaming fee for SMS for which again you need to have a active roaming account – kind of loopback, right?)
Occasional, app crash on Android  is what NTPro need to fix. Also some users report that they have issues with user registration on NTPro Android app (check the App’s Google Play store reviews.)

NTPro app technology

NTPro app is developed using various codecs GSM, SILK, Opus, VP8, and OpenSSL, libSRTP, libyuv, libtsc technologies. Terms of use of the app take users to binding agreement with a third party app developer Genband US LLC rather than Nepal Telecom itself. (GENBAND is a global leader in real time communications, network transformation and unified communications for service providers, enterprises, and systems integrators.) We think it’s time Telecom develop their apps themselves or at least have branding.

Using NTPro to receive calls from Nepal and make calls to Nepal is cheap compared to Viber Out rates and other popular messaging services. NTPro is definitely a good blend of traditional telephony services and messaging app. However, Nepal Telecom is suggested to remove monthly subscription fees to grow user base.
What’s your say about NTPro VoIP service? Share it with us.
(You might also want to read: Legal VoIP service providers in Nepal.)

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