Another country is to bid farewell to CDMA as Nepal Telecom says it will switch off CDMA services by July 2021.
Nepal Telecom (NT) is Nepal’s largest mobile network operator by subscriber numbers. According to local reports the operator will switch off its CDMA service during the 2020-21 fiscal year. The resulting additional spectrum will be used for 4G services.
The CDMA service, originally launched in 2006, was used to provide limited mobility services in Kathmandu. Once it goes, it will free up frequency in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands.
This is not unexpected. Nepal’s Radio Frequency Policy Determination Committee (RFPDC) had announced in early 2019 that CDMA networks were to be shut down by 2022. In fact when the Nepal Telecommunications Authority awarded 2×10MHz of 800MHz spectrum to NT for 4G LTE in February of 2019, it was conditional on the operator returning 6MHz of airwaves after the CDMA network shutdown.
For the few people who still remember the strength of CDMA in the 1990s and early 2000s, such a shutdown is further indication of the end of an era. However, 3G had not rolled out when CDMA first came on the scene, let alone 4G and 5G. Today in Nepal NT has announced that its 4G LTE service is now available in more than 2,000 locations across the country as part of an aggressive expansion programme initiated last year.