State-owned Nepal Telecom is the first mobile player in the country to receive approval from the telecoms regulator to roll out a 4G network, but it won’t be issued a formal licence until it has submitted a detailed launch plan to the government.

The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) said it will issue a 4G licence after it reviews Nepal Telecom’s 4G working plan, The Himalayan Times reported. The operator said it can launch 4G service within two months of receiving approval by using its existing 3G infrastructure.

Rivals Ncell Axiata and Smart Telecom applied for 4G licences, but the NTA has yet to make a decision on Ncell’s proposal and rejected Smart’s application since it failed to meet certain criteria to run 4G service.

Nepal Telecom is the country’s largest operator with a 46.3 per cent market share, marginally ahead of Ncell, which was acquired in April by Malaysia-based Axiata Group (and has a 45.9 per cent market share and 14.2 million connections, according to GSMA Intelligence).