NT, Ncell, and Smart fail to meet basic network quality requirements

Currently, there are three major cellular network service providers in Nepal, state-owned Nepal Telecom, Ncell, and Smart Telecom. The question is often asked: which among the three offers the best service. However, as shown by a recent test, not one among the three has met the basic requirements of quality and services. Here, we are discussing the results of NTA’s network quality test on Nepal Telecom (NT), Ncell and Smart Telecom.

NT, Ncell and Smart fail NTA’s quality test

The test was carried out by Nepal Telecommunication Authority in three major cities of the Kathmandu Valley. NTA considered 20 locations inside the capital, 6 locations in Lalitpur, and 4 locations in Bhaktapur. In addition, the test took place in and around the ring road.


For the Key Performance Indicators of a network, NTA uses Drive Test. Here the testing phone/phones are placed in a vehicle and moved around a certain route. The phones are configured to connect to the most appropriate network (2G/3G/4G) and are used for making voice and data calls of up to 40 seconds.

Key Performance Indicators

NTA has three major Key Performance Indicators to determine the quality of the network. For this test, it excluded the ping test and HTTP browsing delay that were part of past tests.

Call Setup Time

First is the call setup time. It is the time required by the network to initiate a call.

According to NTA’s standard, the call setup time needs to be 5 seconds or less. However, none of the three network service providers were within the threshold.

Network Service ProviderCall Connection Time NTA’s Threshold
Nepal Telecom (NT)9.34s5s
Smart Telecom10.27s

Still, Ncell performed comparatively better than NT and Smart, while the latter had the longest call setup duration.

Call Setup Success Rate

It is the number of successful calls out of a hundred inside the particular network.

Ncell also has the best call setup success rate of 94.43%. NTC comes second with 90.51%. Smart Cell lags with an 84.74% success rate. However, none of the three meet the NTA’s threshold of 99%.

Network Service ProviderCall Setup Success RateNTA’s Threshold
Nepal Telecom (NT)90.51%99%
Smart Telecom84.47%

Drop Rate

Moving on, the drop rate is the no of automatic disconnections per 100 calls. Nepal Telecom, Ncell, and Smart Telecom all had call drop rates below 1%. NTA requires this KPI to be under 2%.

Network Service ProviderCall Drop RateNTA’s Threshold
Nepal Telecom (NT)0.87%2%
Smart Telecom0.45

Need for a fourth Player

As revealed by the test, Nepali consumers are using services that are below the standard set by NTA. Furthermore, we don’t have many options outside of the major three.

CG has time and again promised to provide reliable and affordable service however it is yet to receive a unified license from the Government of Nepal.

CG Net has already shown how a single provider can spice up the market if it is determined. We need a similar provider in the Telecom industry.

  • Meanwhile, check out our review of the CG Net.


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Rabins Sharma Lamichhane

Rabins Sharma Lamichhane is senior ICT professional who talks about #it, #cloud, #servers, #software, and #innovation. Rabins is also the first initiator of Digital Nepal. Facebook: rabinsxp Instagram: rabinsxp

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