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Guide to getting mobile internet in Nepal

From Nepal sim cards to wifi

What internet is available - mobile internet - wifi - locations - tips

What are the types of internet available in Nepal?

Nepal's internet infrastructure is booming and struggling at the same time. Over the past few years mobile base stations are spreading out across the country and wifi options are growing.

However Nepal's chronic electricity shortages and bad infrastructure are hampering internet connectivity. Expect frequent outages and slow speeds. However using a combination of WiFi, MiFi and mobile can see you get most tasks done.

Mobile internet providers in Nepal

Nepal telecom (NTC): The national telecom company. You can now purchase a pre-paid NTC sim card that offers CDMA. You'll need a passport photo and a photocopy of your passport ID page. Internet is not that great though. But it does have the widest coverage.

Ncell: Formally known as Mero Mobile 50% of the company was sold to a Russian Telecom then in 2016 to a Malaysian company and it's now the premier mobile company in Nepal. To get a sim card you can go into any small corner store. Have a copy of your passport and sign up to get a card straight away. They cost 50 rupees. Avoid the expensive "tourist sim".

Mobile internet charges in Nepal:

Ncell offer the following mobile internet charges.

Package Price Validity How to subscribe? Charge after package is over#  (for Prepaid)
3MB Rs. 6 24 hours Dial *99091# Rs. 6/ MB
10MB Rs. 30 30 days Dial *99092# Rs. 6/ MB
40MB Rs. 99 30 days Dial *99093# Rs. 4/ MB
100MB Rs. 199 30 days Dial *99094# Rs. 4/ MB
300MB Rs. 299 30 days Dial *99095# Rs. 4/ MB
500MB Rs. 399 30 days Dial *99096# Rs. 2/ MB
1GB Rs. 699 30 days Dial *99097# Rs. 2/ MB
5GB Rs. 1999 30 days Dial *99098# Rs. 2/ MB
10GB Rs. 2999 30 days Dial *99099# Rs. 2/ MB

The above prices do not include 13% VAT.* Ncell mobile internet rates

MIFI internet in Nepal

There are an increasing number of USB dongles and mini-WiFi masts becoming available with "high speed" or "broadband" internet packages. Sadly it's not that good and they simply use mobile data speeds.

Nepal Telecom's EVDO (skypro) offers a USB stick for 2200 rupees. The packages then costs 2 GB - 760 rupees, 5 GB - 1700 rupees and 10 GB - rupees 2,400.

Again, don't expect the promised 3MB speed. Expect everything from 10kb to 1MB.

To purchase one ask around in mobile stores rather than Nepal Telecom offices.

WIFI internet in Nepal

WIFI in Hotels: Many hotels and guesthouses in Nepal offer free WiFi as standard. It is however very important to find out if your accommodation with free WiFi also has a generator in case of an electricity outage.

Generally speaking accommodation WiFi is around the 512kb - 1mb. In recent years guesthouse WiFi has increased, but the networks have failed to keep up with the demand which results in slow speeds.

WIFI in Cafes: There are plenty of Internet Cafes in Nepal. Very few have WIFI. Most use password controlled desktop computers. Telephone calls using Skype are generally possible. However computer viruses are very commonplace so exercise caution when using memory cards.

A few internet cafes allow ethernet cables for laptops but it's rare.

Charges range from 25 rupees per hour to 120rupees (tourist areas)

Buy your own WIFI mast: If you are planning to spend some time in Nepal then you might consider purchasing your own dedicated WiFi mast. They are not all that big and are available from many of the WiFi companies in Nepal.

Where to find internet in Nepal?

Generally speaking you'll find WiFi in all tourist destinations. In particular Thamel in Kathmandu and Lakeside in Pokhara which will have the fastest connections.

Mobile internet is available in all major towns. When trekking don't expect internet. However you might be surprised where it does pop up. There is for example a mobile base station near Everest Base Camp. Though it's not always working!

Do not expect to stream YouTube or download anything anywhere in Nepal with ease using WiFi. Using a mobile package it's possible.

What mobile network offers the best coverage for trekking in Nepal?

Nepal may be a small country but that doesn't mean one mobile network can reach everywhere.

The general rule is: For Everest Region NCELL offers a good signal. For the Annapurna region Nepal Telecom is best.

While the above might be true don't expect coverage 24/7. If you really need to be online when trekking then get both sim cards.

Tips on Internet in Nepal

  • Don't rely on 24/7 fast internet - it's not there
  • Do expect your internet connection to disappear frequently
  • Do expect to get up at odd hours of the night to get a connection
  • Do have spare batteries for your mobile devices as electricity is also not always there
  • Do be careful using public computers and sharing memory cards as computer viruses are a problem
  • Don't believe guesthouse owners who tell you their WIFI works very well!

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