Nepali Times Asian Paints
Ncell sells

It has been two years since Ncell entered the Nepal mobile telephony market. How has the experience been so far?
Mobile penetration last year was 20 per cent, now we estimate it to have passed 35 per cent. Growth has been fast, and we are happy that Nepal has welcomed a quality operator like us. This is a unique market compared to other developing countries; the needs of Nepalis are very different. For example, nowhere in the world is the PRBT (Personal Ring Back Tone) service as popular as it is in Nepal. But this is a developing market; penetration is still low. Voice communication has not been exploited to its fullest.

In our experience, perceptions have changed since we rebranded our products. We have developed in terms of services, quality and variety, and people have felt the change.

Customer satisfaction with mobile services in general is not very high because of unreliable connections between service providers. Could it be that growth has been too fast?
We are still evolving. We are determined and capable of providing international standard telecom services, but when big changes are effected, many seen and unseen factors play a role. Other players need to be competent as well, and service quality is affected by the network quality of these players. Capacity is still an issue after two years of struggle.

As far as calls within our network are concerned, there are very few complaints. But with 14 hours of loadshedding every day, things are difficult to manage. We have prioritised green site solutions, and 50 per cent of our new sites in rural areas will be green sites, meaning they will draw on solar energy.

Have there been efforts to try to bridge the communication gap with Nepal Telecom?
It is a reciprocal process. I have to say that it is improving but a lot depends upon the other side as well. It's a good discussion we're having but connecting capacity between services is something they need to work on.

You also introduced Blackberry services late last year, amidst some skepticism. How has the response been?
Blackberry is a success story. A lot of effort, resources and time went into this, but we got the end result we wanted. It has helped us enhance our corporate image with clients, and has elevated our position in the market.

What are your future plans?
Corporate responsibility, service excellence and customer trust have always been the top priorities of our company. We strive to be the trusted, number one choice of customers and aim to deliver high quality services that offer good value for money and contribute to our customers' success.

We are also supporting education in Nepal; through our CSR project we are supporting 11 schools across Nepal in 2011. We are a leader in innovation, telecommunications products, and customer services. We want to be a benchmark in Nepal, not only in the telecommunications industry, but as an exemplary company in general.

Off with the heads...nah!, PAAVAN MATHEMA

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)