Hurray! Laptops Go Wireless in Nepal

Theme of the blog: Now you can be online from anywhere in Kathmandu and 52 other districts of Nepal, thanks to the PCMCI card distributed by Nepal Telecom from yesterday

The season has started in Kathmandu (and other parts of Nepal) for laptops to go wireless. As I am typing these lines, I am elated to see a web page being downloaded with the wireless connection that I purchased today. 🙂 🙂 Feeling like flying over the sky thinking aloud: “I am freed from the world of wires.” Thanks to the PCMCI card that Nepal Telecom started distributing from yesterday in BICC, New Baneswor where Computer Association of Nepal (CAN) is organizing 13th edition of CAN Info Tech. I bought teh CDMA-based data card this afternoon for Rs. 8, 890 and installed it in my machine with the help of a NT employee. It feels so special to be connected wirelessly in Kathmandu. It was always a dream. Now, in principle, I can go online from anywhere in Kathmandu and other 50 districts of Nepal. Yes, I must carry this laptop with me and pay the bills. 😦

I am happy but I strongly feel that Nepal Telecom overcharged us. The pre-paid card that includes Rs. 500 equivalent of Internet connection (25 paisa per 100 KB), is very expensive and NT hasn’t justified why it is charging that much money. In addition to that, I had to make my voice louder when two employees refused to give me back the change. I gave them Rs. 9 thousand and they had to give me back Rs. 12. “We don’t have change,” said the man. “If you want change, give us the exact amount (Rs. 8, 888).” I thought that wasn’t a responsible way of handling a sales desk. They said that around 20 people bought the card today and none of them demanded the change. “So what are you doing with that money?” I asked them. The money would not go to Nepal Telecom. “Well what can we do as we don’t have any change,” the man said.

“I want the change back,” I kept insisting and another man came complaining about a different problem.

The younger man started looking into the safe box to look for the change and found Rs. 10! I was shocked with their behavior. “What is this?” I asked the man waiving two five rupees notes. He was quiet and quickly turned away from me.

While trying to install the card, it almost seemed that the card wasn’t working in my machine. I was frustrated. While sitting behind the NT desk in the Gandaki Hall of the BICC, I had to face so many curious visitors who were throwing one trillion questions about the CDMA and pre-paid mobile phone service of NT. There were no other NT staffs to deal with the visitor’s questions. That was a poor show on NT’s part. Thankfully, the card in my laptop worked and I quickly opened UWB, the homepage, and checked out WSJ and my Gmail account just to make sure I was getting things live from the web. Yes, I was!

Laptop owners lined up since yesterday in front of the Nepal Telecom stall as the Kathmandu Post had carried news about the card on front page. Since NT had announced that it had only 300 cards in stock, people were eager secure one for their machine. Two persons from our office, (Ameet Dhakal, news editor, the Kathmandu Post and Rajesh KC, cartoonist, Kantipur Publications) bought cards yesterday. In canteen yesterday afternoon, Ameet dai and I talked about accessing the web and chatting with people in different part so of the world from a paddy field in Jhapa! I am looking forward to use Internet from some of the strangest points in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal.

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20 thoughts on “Hurray! Laptops Go Wireless in Nepal

  1. ल बधाई छ वाग्लेजी। अर्कोचोटी अनलाईन हुँदा जरुर भन्नुहोला आफ्नो लोकेसन!!

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  2. Thanks MP ji,

    I will definitely let you know. Right now I am responding to your from somewhere behind the Kathmandu International Airport. The connection is halka dhila but excitement is still with me. रमाइलै भइरहेको छ । 🙂

    Yes, Vahsek, its really expensive. The card thought the connection rate is okay. Still it could be reduced and Nepal Telecom could waive off the connection charge: every time you dial, you have to pay 25 paisa. Kya bore tyo samjhida ta 😦

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  3. Dinesh Dai,
    This facility would be great for you people who have laptop.But what we have to do who has a desktop.Any way lets hope the facility will run up to desktop in upcoming days….

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  4. Validity: several months if I remember it correctly. You will be downloading ro uploading Rs. 5oo worth of data in a month or two anyway. You can also buy cards for Rs. 1000 and you can extend the valadity for as long as a year or slightly more than that.

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  5. wagleji:
    do you and kantipur make it a point to blame NTC repeatedly because the owner of spice nepal and the owner of kantipur television is probably the same person– because when Kathmandu Post and Kantipur write about the qualms of the NTC cell phone users (although the news headline will be more like cell phone quality contue to be poor), you never make a mention of the (poor) quality of Mero Mobile… is this true at all or is it just a rumor making rounds in kathmandu?

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  6. Kantipur is a professional newspaper and publishing house of Nepal enjoying deep respect in Nepali society. I am sure you are well aware of it and I am proud, really proud, to be a reporter with this great newspaper and the fantastic team here. We treat the news professionally and the editorial team is independent of the management team and it enjoys utmost freedom here.

    Whenever we write news about Nepal Telecom, we keep in mind our readers and Nepali public. They deserve better service from Nepal Telecom, the state entity, and it couldn’t be compared with any other private individuals or entities.

    When you allege me of writing only negative things about NT, I conclude you haven’t read my articles on UWB about possible conspiracy by royalists to turn NT into another Janakpur Cigarette Factory by not allowing to compete fairly with Mero Mobile. Relatives of Gyanendra invested in Mero Mobile and tried to derail NT’s business by unfair means.

    The management of Nepal Telecom needs to be professional and make its customer service efficient. It seems you wholeheartedly support those corrupt staffs of Nepal Telecom who wanted to keep the change with themselves (my story of buying PCMCI card). You are free to support that but as a customer of Nepal Telecom and a citizen of this country, I strongly reject that idea. I would have happily donated that amount (Rs. 12) to any charity but I thought it was grossly inappropriate to leave the money to corrupt employees.

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  7. Wagleji– thanks for your elaborate response– I was pointing out that there may be times when your publishing house is more critical of NTC and not necessarily criticising the poor quality of Mero Mobile in the same vein- and you dodged my question that is it because the part owner of Mero Mobile also owns part of the Kantipur TV– has you newspaper ever come out to criticise Mero Mobile’s poor service, or the way they fooled the people where they said buy a ticket and get a sim card to a number of concerts and the reality was quite different– I wasn’t endorsing the corruption that goes on in NTC but my question was more focussed on the imbalance in reporting whereby your “professional” newspaper goes out on a NTC thrashing spree without necessairly also making the same readers that Mero Mobile may not be any better. And my innocent question was and the readers need to know this — is it because the owner of the Mero Mobile and Kantipur TV is the same? Please don’t try to dodge this by trying to discredit the person who is asking the question- can you pelase answer the question?

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  8. I have already replied to your question that Kantipur is a professional newspaper with the editorial team seperate and enjoying utmost freedom. Kantipur TV and Kantipur daily are editorially and independent organizations with separate editorial and management teams. Nepal Telecom, compared to Spice Cells, is a huge company with many activities and services. That makes it obvious that NT will get more coverage (bad or good) compared to any other cell phone companies in the country. If you read papers from Kantipur Publications, you will find that they are the ones that give more and better coverage of NT, be that when NT introduced the wireless connection cards for laptops or prepaid phones in various districts or its poor service to post paid subscribers. We have written many articles when Gyanendra tried to turn Nepal Telecom another Janakpur Cigarette Factory by closing the service and letting Spice Cells flourish. Have you read that famous article by Khagendra Shangraula in Kantipur in which he details about the relations of “mero and tero mobile” and talks about how the royal regime was trying to kill NT favoring Mero Mobile?

    [I haven’t subscribed Mero Mobile just because I though it was enjoying unfair leverage in royal regime. I subscribed to UTL’s CDMA phone because NT wouldn’t provide me land line.] I have no animosity against any private cellular companies and I welcome more private sector investment in businesses but I strongly believe Nepal Telecom must not be made victim of unfair competition. AND the corrupt employees of Nepal Telecom must not make the organization hostage of their ill intentions. NT must expand its GSM service. What I am hearing is it has stopped the plan of expanding its capacity to distribute another million cell phone lines in Nepal. Why? There is so much demand of mobile phones, just go to NT’s booth in CAN Infotech at BICC (Baneshwor International Convention Center) and see how many people are asking about the prepaid mobile lines? NT is one of the richest companies in Nepal and it’s not expanding its service despite the huge demand. WHY? Because the mindset of high level staffs in NT is not professional and many of them are corrupt.

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  9. ok, thanks wagleji for your explantion— makes a lot of sense. My concern was more related to how Kantipur goes around thrashing NTC at each step and never ever makes a mention about the substandard service that Mero Mobile provides including how they duped so many of the people during their early days (buy tickets to concerts and get a sim card free scheme) and this being a new private venture on a very dynamic and emerging issue, I thought the readers deserved a more balanced point of view. I can debate with you if Kantipur is in fact a professional newspaper– just last week it published the suicide note of a lady who had committed suicide a year ago– if one reads the ethics of journalism such kind of acts is directly against the kind of professionalism that the journalists need to adhere to but we are not debating the professionalism of Kantipur here– I guess the circulation that Kantipur enjoys might, at the end of the day, be a more decisive factor than whether or not it is in fact professional.. that debate requires a separate scutiny. But I am happy that you make honest attempts at trying to make sure that the subscribers get the most out of NTC services and that alone is a laudable task and I congratulate u for it. But, I still maintain that these other services like Spice, regardless of having the same owner as Katipur TV also needs similar scrutiny so that they are also on their toes and the subscribers benefit even further. Keep up your blog.. its great!

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  10. First of Congratulation Mr Wagle!!!!!
    It’s very expensive in plain words, beyond the reach of even middle class family. Having accessed the internet from wireless system for more than 3 years, I have lost all those thrilling experience and most often I access the net from my room coz of desktop connection but incidentally today, I am using fren’s laptop and sitting on the roof of the hostel. Now, I feel little thrill!!!

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  11. wagleG, could you please tell us how is going your wireless internet journey? Actually I too would like to buy the card but before that it would be great if you would share problems and benifits? What do you suggest?

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  12. Wanna knowG,

    My wireless internet journey is cruising superbly. I first read your comment when I was connected wirelessly. If you are a user of mobile phone it will be a lot easier for me to explain the service. Just like any wireless systems, the level of connectivity for PCMCI card depends on how far you are from the tower. Now you might ask how I know where the hell the tower is. Valid question that one of my friends asked a few days ago. You can see the tower status (just like in the cell phone) on the screen that will let you guess how far or near you are from the tower. You will have quality connection and data transfer rate if you are near to the tower.

    Another factor that will decide the data transfer rate is how many people are using the service at the time you are logged in to the connection. If there are few people, you will have maximum data transfer rate and vice versa. The battery will die quicker when you install the card in laptop because the card required about 2 watts of power. I noticed that batteries in my machine die around 20 minutes earlier if the card is plugged in. I don’t remove the card from the machine I don’t want the jhamela of reinstalling it. So even if I am not connected, card consumes the batteries.

    I haven’t gone outside the valley nor have taken the machine to other places than my house and office after I bought the card. But yes I did connect to the internet via wireless in my bed (sirak odera) and it worked except in a few occasions when I had to open the window.

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  13. By the way, Wanna KnowG, I forget to mention (in my comment above though I have stated in my original post) that not all laptops, doesn’t matter if that’s latest or not, support the PCMCI card. For instance, I went to NT stall in BICC at the time of CAN info tech along with my friend in photography department of Kantipur Publications. He bought the card and later we realized that the card does not fit into the slot of his Dell laptop. It seems the card does not work with Dell laptops (and possibly others that are made for the US and European market). I suggest you to check that first before buying. The shocking part of the deal is that NT would not take back the cards that they sell.

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