Ncell, the second largest mobile operator in Nepal, expanded 4G coverage to 21 cities and made the service available to more than 15 per cent of the population.

Pranay Acharya, director of corporate services at Ncell, said expanding access to 4G “we have been able to swiftly deliver on what we have committed, contributing towards the goals of National Broadband Policy and Digital Nepal”.

Ncell first launched 4G in Kathmandu Valley in June 2017 and is planning and testing 4G service in other cities, it said in a statement. The operator, which is 80 per cent owned by Malaysia-based Axiata, was awarded a 4G licence in early May 2017.

The company narrowly avoided a block on its 4G deployment in a row over tax payments relating to an acquisition of Telia’s Ncell stake by Axiata in April 2016. In December 2017, the country’s Supreme Court ruled in favour of Ncell’s parent company, allowing the regional operator to repatriate dividends earned by its Nepal unit.

GSMA Intelligence estimates show Ncell ended 2017 with 16.3 million mobile connections giving it a 44 per cent market share. About 300,000 of those conenctions were on its 4G network.