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NTA recommends new interim frequency policy

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has recommended the Ministry of Information and Communications to endorse a new interim frequency policy-2012.

The authority has made a proposal to adopt the provision of auction to allocate GSM mobile frequency, and administrative pricing system to allocate link frequency or microwave frequency.

The proposed draft has recommended 2 x 6 MHz in 900 MHz band for mobile services, 2 x 2.5 MHz for CDMA limited mobility, and 2 x 2.4 MHz for limited mobility under GSM technology.

NTA has suggested the ministry to charge 0.4 per cent of the total annual income as frequency fee for the time being. The charge for additional frequency will be fixed through an auction, its draft says.

However, the regulator has proposed Rs 10 million for a MHz in 800 and 900 MHz band, Rs 5 million for a mega hertz in 1800 MHz band and Rs 7 million for a mega hertz in 2100 (3G) MHz band unless an auction is held for the additional frequency that service providers will possess.

Similarly, the telecom regulator has floated a proposal of Rs 5 million for a MHz frequency in 2300 and 2600 MHz band, and Rs 0.25 million for a MHz frequency in 3300 MHz band for additional frequency that voice operators will hold until an auction is held.

The telecom authority has said that the base price or reserve price for the frequency will be fixed
after receiving suggestions from an expert group. The expert group will study the international pricing mechanism and price structure of frequency in the South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region and recommend the government to set a base price accordingly.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority has claimed that the policy will end uncertainty and ambiguity in the existing frequency fee.

It has recommended the government to enforce the policy immediately so that the government can implement the auction policy as recommended by the then Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the recently dissolved Legislature Parliament.

However, an official at the Ministry of Information and Communications said that the frequency policy will further face ad hocism by endorsing the interim policy.

“What the country needs is not an interim frequency policy but a permanent-type one,” the official said, adding that the interim policy will not resolve the dispute and uncertainty prevalent in the telecom sector.

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