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Best Telecom Service Providers in Nepal [Updated]

Best Telecom Service Provider in Nepal

Ever wondered which is the Best Telecom Service Provider in Nepal? When one thinks of Telecom service providers in Nepal, we can name only three: NTC, Ncell, and Smart Telecom. And the latter is in the dark for many, still. However, Smart Telecom has grown to the young generation of Nepalese audience with its affordable voice and internet packs. But there are actually three more such service providers in Nepal: Nepal Satellite Telecom, UTL, and CG Telecom. Of course, due to the lack of proper infrastructures and some regulations, these three don’t really come into the light. In fact, UTL is no longer operational in the country.

Therefore, we play with the major three; which was quite a break from the duopoly of NTC & Ncell. And even these major players were not able to meet the Quality Assurance Tests from NTA. Anyways, among the top players, these service providers vary from one another on many things.

Telecom service mainly depends on these things:
  • Coverage – The geographical areas from where the service (2G/3G/4G) is accessible and the difference of speed in various geographical locations
  • Cost – The cost of the service provided including regular tariffs, and cost of various offers inclusive of taxes
  • Speed – The connectivity of regular phone calls and the speed of the internet on mobile data
  • Offers – How often the company provides various offers and schemes for data plans and voice packs for cheap

To note, whenever I’m referring to any stat throughout this article, unless explicitly mentioned, it will be from the NTA MIS Report (Jan 2020).

Some users value cost, while speed matters the most for others. And of course, for those frequently on the travel, coverage is of utmost importance. According to the aforementioned report, there are 41,580,399 voice-based telephone service subscriptions in Nepal. That is roughly 40% more than the total population in the country. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at our pick for the best telecom service providers in Nepal.

Best Telecom Service Provider in Nepal [2020]

1. Nepal Telecom

Nepal Telecom (NTC)

Nepal Telecom, or properly called Nepal Doorsanchar Company Limited (NDCL) is the first mobile telecom operator in Nepal established in 1960 AD. It was only in 2004 when Nepal Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) transformed from a corporation to NDCL. With 91.49% government share, Nepal Telecom is the go-to name in terms of telecommunication services in the country. It was also the most preferred service provider in 2017 (according to you guys). And well, it’s for good reason.

Services

In terms of services, Nepal Telecom provides all types of telephony services. These include GSM, CDMA, PSTN, WLL, and VSAT. However, the company is preparing to discontinue CDMA (Sky Phone) adhering to NTA’s directive by 2022. As of late, there are a total of 22,328,879 subscriptions to Nepal Telecom’s voice telephony services:

  • GSM (Global System for Mobile): 19,865,286
  • CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access): 1,679,201
  • PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network): 664,863
  • WLL (Wireless Local Loop): 118,948
  • VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal): 581

Moreover, Nepal Telecom was also the first to launch the 4G/LTE service (1800MHz neutral frequency band) in the country on January 1, 2017. While it was exclusive to Kathmandu and Pokhara in the initial days, the service coverage has since reached the entire 77 districts of the country. To check if your NTC SIM card supports 4G/LTE, you can dial *444# (and activate it if your SIM is compatible).

Now, let’s talk about the real-life performance & quality of voice calls and mobile data. An NTA-conducted test revealed that NTC has an acceptable level of call connection/setup and call drop; though exactly not up to the standard. NTC is also known for its cheap cost on calls & data, compared to Ncell. As of late, the company has also been able to come up with some really attractive data packs, including the “Zero Balance Package” for the needy.

e-Shikshya Package

Data Volume Price Validity Subscription
6GB [3GB all time + 3GB (5 AM – 10 AM)] Rs. 260 28 days *1441#
15GB [9GB all time + 6GB (5 AM – 10 AM)] Rs. 500 28 days *1441#

StayConnected Package

Data, Call time Volume Price Validity Subscription
1GB (All Network) + Bonus 3GB (4G) Rs. 100 5 days *1415*10#
2GB (All Network) + Bonus 8GB (4G) Rs. 200 7 days *1415*10#
40 minutes + Bonus 20 minutes Rs. 25 1 day *1415*10#
190 minutes + Bonus 95 minutes Rs. 100 7 days *1415*10#

All-Time Data Package

Data Volume Price Validity Subscription
60MB Rs. 15 1 day *1415*1*1#
250MB Rs. 25 1 day *1415*1*1#
300MB Rs. 60 7 days *1415*1*1#
700MB Rs. 100 7 days *1415*1*1#
2000MB Rs. 260 28 days *1415*1*1#
6000MB Rs. 500 28 days *1415*1*1#
14000MB Rs. 700 28 days *1415*1*1#

Other Assorted Packages

Data, Call time Volume Price Validity Subscription
Social Media – 70MB Rs. 10 1 day *1415*2#
Social Media – 250MB Rs. 35 3 days *1415*2#
Social Media – 600MB Rs. 65 7 days *1415*2#
Night Data Unlimited (11 PM – 6 AM) Rs. 18 1 day *1415*3#
Night Data Unlimited (11 PM – 6 AM) Rs. 90 7 days *1415*3#
1GB Per Day (1GB) Rs. 45 1 Day *1415*6#
1GB Per Day (7GB) Rs. 250 1 Day *1415*6#
1GB Per Day (28GB) Rs. 850 1 Day *1415*6#
1 Hour Unlimited (Voice + SMS + Data) Rs. 20 1 Hour *1415*8#
100 minutes voice (5 AM – 5 PM) Rs. 10 24 Hours *1415*9#
Unlimited voice call (5 AM – 5 PM) Rs. 15 24 Hours *1415*9#
80MB (6 AM – 6 PM) Rs. 10 24 Hours *1415*9#
200MB (6 AM – 6 PM) Rs. 15 24 Hours *1415*9#

All the above-mentioned prices are inclusive of taxes. You can also check the available volume of data in any package by dialing *1415*55# or use the app. The app has all kinds of information and also lets you subscribe to packages from there itself.

Download Nepal Telecom: Android | iOS

2. Ncell

Ncell (Axiata) Nepal

NTC might be the first, but Ncell has quickly managed to become one of the largest telecom service provider in Nepal. Though it is mainly popular among the younger generation of audience, I won’t be surprised if many of them don’t know that the company was originally called “Mero Mobile”. Established in 2004, Ncell became a part of the Axiata Group Berhad since April 12, 2016. With its wide coverage and fast data, Ncell is popular even though it’s considerably expensive.

Services

Unlike the government-regulated NTC, Ncell only offers GSM voice telephony service. To make it more clear, every other telecom service provider except NTC only offers GSM. So much for ending the monopoly, huh? Anyway, Ncell’s number of GSM customers has gradually increased over time. Yet, it still comes second to NTC with 17,157,358 subscribers.

Additionally, Ncell also launched its 4G/LTE services since June 1, 2018, in the Kathmandu valley. And now, that service has reached all 7 provinces in the country. In terms of speed, Ncell was dubbed the one with the fastest internet by NTA. So, if speed is what you’re going for – you know where to look. To help its customers during the trying times of the ongoing lockdown, the company recently introduced the “Use Service, Pay Later” offer. This is a low-cost bundle of data, voice calls, and SMS. Let’s look at some other Ncell data packs.

Get More on 4G Offer

Validity Price Volume (all-time / 4G / night time) Total Volume
1 Day Rs. 11.49 35MB 105MB
1 Day Rs. 19.15 75GB 225MB
3 Days Rs. 37.03 120MB 360MB
3 Days Rs. 44.69 200MB 600MB
7 Days Rs. 88.11 300MB 900MB
7 Days Rs. 95.77 500MB 1500MB
30 Days Rs. 343.49 1300MB 3900MB
30 Days Rs. 453.30 3GB 9GB

Data Pack with Video Offer

Validity Price All-time Volume Video (1hr/day) Nighttime Volume Total Volume
1 Day Rs. 49.80 750MB 1 Day 750MB 1.5GB
3 Days Rs. 126.41 2GB 3 Days 2GB 4GB
7 Days Rs. 254.10 4GB 7 Days 4GB 8GB
30 Days Rs. 1020.24 16GB 30 Days 16GB 32GB

Mero Plan (weekly)

Price (per week) Available Data Free YouTube Total Volume Ncell to Ncell call rates (per minute)
Rs. 95.77 2GB 2GB Rs. 1.28
Rs. 191.54 4GB 2GB 6GB Rs. 1.28

Mero Plan (monthly)

Price (per week) Available Data Free YouTube Total Volume Ncell to Ncell call rates (per minute)
Rs. 254.10 1GB 1GB 2GB Rs. 1.28
Rs. 381.79 3GB 3GB 6GB Rs. 1.15
Rs. 637.17 6GB 6GB 12GB Rs. 1.02
Rs. 1020.24 15GB 15GB 30GB Rs. 0.89
Rs. 1275.62 25GB 25GB 50GB Rs. 0.64

Likewise, all the prices mentioned in these packages are inclusive of taxes. You can dial *17123# to subscribe to them or use the Ncell app.

Download Ncell App: Android | iOS

3. Smart Telecom

Smart Telecom (Smart Cell) Nepal

Established on July 1, 2008, Smart Telecom is the third largest mobile network service provider in Nepal. Though the company has been in operation for very long, it hasn’t been able to penetrate the entire region of the country. However, Smart Telecom has become very popular among the younger crowd because of its aggressive pricing and value-oriented offers & schemes.

Services

Like Ncell, Smart Telecom also provides GSM services only. Its latest GSM-subscriber count has reached 2,091,257, ranking it behind NTC & Ncell. It started with the 2G network connectivity, while the company also launched 4G/LTE since October 28, 2017. At its inception, Smart’s 4G/LTE was limited to Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lalitpur, and Bhaktapur. And now, it has reached 19 districts in the country, while the company’s total nationwide presence remains in 45 districts in Nepal.

Unfortunately, Smart Telecom performed quite poorly in NTA’s test for call setup and call drop; way worse than NTC & Ncell. Therefore, if you need a stable connection wherever you go, this might not be a wise choice. But as I mentioned earlier, Smart has lots of affordable voice and data offers; the primary reason for its sudden outburst of popularity in the past couple of years. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Smart Data Packs

Data Volume Validity Price Subscription
200MB 1 Day Rs. 11.49 *141*3*1*6#
500MB + 500MB 1 Day Rs. 37.03 *141*3*1*1#
1GB + 1GB 7 Days Rs. 88.11 *141*3*1*2#
1GB + 1GB 15 Days Rs. 113.64 *141*3*1*2#
2GB + 2GB 30 Days Rs. 254.10 *141*3*1*4#
5GB + 5GB 30 Days Rs. 407.33 *141*3*1*5#
20GB 30 Days Rs. 509.48 *141*3*2*1#

Smart Voice Packs

Pack Name Validity Price Subscription
Voice Unlimited – 1 Day 1 Day Rs. 11.49 *141*1*2*3#
7 Days Unlimited Voice 7 Days Rs. 37.03 *141*1*2*2#
Voice Unlimited – 30 Days 30 Days Rs. 126.41 *141*1*2*1#
Daily Rental Voice Pack (All local calls @ Rs. 0.90/min) 1 Day Rs. 3.83 *141*1*1*1#

Smart Recharge Packs

Recharge Amount Main Balance Additional Benefits Validity
Rs. 100 Rs. 98.04 200MB + 200MB data, 10 min. talk time, 10 SMS *141*1*2*3#
Rs. 200 Rs. 196.08 400MB + 400MB data, 20 min. talk time, 20 SMS *141*1*2*2#
Rs. 500 Rs. 490.20 1.5GB + 1.5GB data, 100 min. talk time, 100 SMS *141*1*2*1#
Rs. 1,000 Rs. 980.40 3GB + 3GB data, 200 min. talk time, 200 SMS *141*1*1*1#

As you can see, Smart Telecom has quite a many attractive data and voice packs; including bonuses on regular recharge. That’s something you don’t get (or at least nowhere near this extent) with other telecom service providers. Also, all the prices are inclusive of taxes and these packs can also be subscribed to through its app.

Download Smart Cell Nepal: Android | iOS

Best Telecom Service Provider in Nepal [Summary]

S. No. Mobile Network Operators in Nepal 
1 Nepal Telecom
2 Ncell
3 Smart Telecom
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