Nepal Telecom’s Improved 3G Service

Nepal Telecom's upgraded network now offers Evolved High Speed Packed Access data service.
Nepal Telecom’s upgraded network now offers Evolved High Speed Packed Access data service.

A week ago I posted an entry expressing my dissatisfaction with the Nokia Lumia 820 phone that I have been using since March. I wrote:

Everything’s fine [with the phone] except the 3G connectivity. Not sure if it’s the Nepal Telecom network (I would like to think so and not blame the phone itself as yet) but I have been unable to use 3G internet service on it.

Now I give clean chit to the phone. It was the faulty network of Nepal Telecom, the operator. Of late, NT has been replacing its old towers (called base transceiver stations) with new, improved ones. The result? My phone now picks up the super fast 3G signal in some areas of Kathmandu where the network upgrade has been effective. The news is that the NT will upgrade its network all over Kathmandu valley within a month:

KATHMANDU, JUL 24 – Nepal Telecom (NT) will be replacing more than 500 old mobile towers with new ones in the Valley beginning Wednesday under the project that aims to expand its capacity to 4.8 million new GSM lines and enhance the quality of network, the company announced on Tuesday (Jul 23).

I am delighted to see this sudden improvement in Nepal Telecom’s service. What my phone is receiving is not just the normal 3G signal. It’s more than that. A step ahead and only a step below to the LTE 4G.

I always find myself explaining various standards of data connectivity and symbols (G, E, 3G, H, H+) that are displayed on mobile phones to many of my friends and colleagues. Here’s a good table that explains this in detail.

Shortcut Name Download Upload Display
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications 14,4 Kbit/s 14,4 Kbit/s 2G
GPRS General Packet Radio Service 53,6 Kbit/s 26,8 Kbit/s G
EDGE Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution 217,6 Kbit/s 108,8 Kbit/s E
UMTS Universal Mobile Telelcommunication Service 384 Kbit/s 384 Kbit/s 3G
HSPA High Speed Packed Access 7,2 Mbit/s 1,4 Mbit/s H
HSPA+ Evolved High Speed Packed Access 84 Mbit/s 10,8 Mbit/s H+
LTE Long Term Evolution 100 Mbit/s 50 Mbit/s 4G
Nokia Lumia- Windows Phone Network Selection options
Nokia Lumia- Windows Phone Network Selection options

If you look at the screenshot (top) of my phone that I captured this afternoon you will notice an H+ symbol at the top left corner. Find this symbol in the table above (HSPA+) and you will realize that this is very close to the 4G speed. Entirely unexpected improvement from the Nepal Telecom- the state-owned company  that is notorious for sloppy service.

Personally this upgrade comes a great relief to me- I hadn’t been able to use the 3G service before on my Lumia 820 Windows Phone. The phone used to display the “H” symbol when I selected the 3G connection option (see screenshot- above left) within NT’s 3G coverage rang but not a single byte of data would transfer. That was very frustrating. But no more. Now I am eagerly waiting for the completion of this upgrade, which according to the report linked above, should be over by the end of this month so that I can get connected to the 3G service wherever I am in the Kathmandu Valley (and not just inside the Ring Road area).

Previous entries on Internet connectivity:

मेरो इन्टरनेटसँगको भेट

एउटा लामो ट्वीट [a very long tweet]

Connected in Kathmandu: Complaints and Compliments

Hurray! Laptops Go Wireless in Nepal

गुगल, गाई र रिक्सा

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