KATHMANDU, Jan 5: As many as 4,300 models of mobile phones have received type certification from Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).
According to existing rules, importers must get type certification from NTA before selling mobile phones in the Nepali market.
Among them, 1,243 models have received permanent type approval, according to Ananda Raj Khanal, director of NTA. “Models imported regularly for five years get permanent type approval,” he added.
Similarly, NTA has registered IMEI number of around 3,300 handsets brought from abroad by individuals between May to December last year.
The telecom sector regulator has made type certification for mobile phones mandatory to combat illegal imports of handsets.
Mobile phones of more than 40 brands are available in Nepal. Around 22-25 of them are internationally accepted brands.
Deepak Malhotra, president of Mobie Phone Importers Association (MPIA), said that some brands disappear from the market after launching one or two models. “We are trying to import only quality mobile phones in Nepal,” he added.
There are around 25 mobile phone importers in Nepal and 16 of them are associated with MPIA.
Meanwhile, retailers have said that the process of getting type certification is full of hassles. “We have to present lengthy documents of 200-300 pages to get type approval,” Purushottam Basnet, coordinator of Nepal Mobile Traders Association, said. “Because of this, many traders are not being able to introduced foreign brands in Nepal.” If traders are allowed to import mobile phones easily, the grey market will be controlled easily, he added.
Though more than 400,000 mobile sets are imported to Nepal every month, around 60 percent of the country's population still does not have access to smartphone.
Transaction of mobile phones is growing by 40 percent annually. Mobile phone industry recorded transaction of Rs 25 billion in 2015/16. In the first four months of the current fiscal year, the industry has already recorded transactions worth around Rs 12 billion.