Government has decided to give unified license to the rural telecom service provider STM Telecom. The outgoing Cabinet’s decision has paved the way for STM to bring new telecom technology and services to whole of Nepal.
STM had previously got rural telephony license only. NTA, the regulator was hesitant to provide the unified license to the operator citing their inability to meet the standards. Although NTA is the institution to provide such license to the operators, this time the cabinet took the decision to favor the operator.
According to Setopati, Minister of Information and Communication Mr. Surendra Karki confirmed of the license to STM. He even mentioned of the discrimination for STM to get the license before. So, Government went ahead to decide on the matter. The operator gets the license once it pays all the applicable taxes and fees to the Government.
Meanwhile, NTA chief Mr. Digambar Jha responds of his ignorance in this matter and there was no any consultation done for giving license to the operator. Mr. Jha further expresses that they were of the view to promote merger of the telecom operators than providing license to small operators.
What can operators like STM do with unified license?
The unified license enables a operator to run all of the telecommunication services through out the country. They are required to pay a fee of NRs 357.50 million and a hefty renewal fee of NRs 20.13 Billion in ten years. The amount can also be paid in installment basis. As known, Unified license is brought to create a level playing field for all the telecom operators. So, with the license, STM can install equipment of telecom technologies and operate services in the whole of Nepal. Among all technologies to choose, operators prefer GSM technologies and services due to their popularity and future compatibility. With the license, they can also operate 2G and 4G network in the country. New operators are likely to skip 3G as voice will be in 2G and high speed data will be in 4G.
Frequency available with STM sanchar
As STM sanchar was a rural VSAT operator, it has got frequencies in Satellite spectrum bands. It has also got frequency in GSM 900 band. Till now, they have got 2.4 MHz in GSM 900. With the unified license, they are likely to get more frequencies in 1800 MHz.
Chaudhary group owned STM sanchar for some time and so called CG telecom for that period. According to the network and the no of subscribers, it stands in the last number among all six telecom operators. CG also sold the stake of STM to Helicopter Tycoon Mr. Rameshwor Thapa.