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NTA to bring in new Telecom operator for more competition

NTA plans to scrap the license of those having due taxes

NTA (Nepal Telecommunication Authority) has planned to bring new telecom operator in the country to make the market more competitive. They also have a plan to scrap the license of those operators who are not investing much and give the same to foreign telecom companies.

This comes when some telecom operators are not paying the dues of taxes and not even expanding their network. NTA had already warned to cancel the license for Telcos not clearing the dues.

This latest news is quite in contrary to what Minister Baskota said few months back. Read How many telecom operators are needed for a country like Nepal?

Telecom business being a lucrative one here in Nepal, may attract international companies to start a new telecom company here. But Government or NTA shall be aware enough to create conducive environment and level playing fields between foreign telcos and domestic/incumbent ones.

Depsite being a lucrative one, there are many challenges for a telecom operator to run it’s business here in Nepal.

Currently, Nepali Telecom market is dominated by three telecom operators namely Nepal Telecom, Ncell and Smart Telecom. As per NTA, these three telecom operators even though have catered the demand of people for telecom services but they feel of not being competitive enough. So, they thought bringing a foreign company in the race will make the services more competitive.

Purushottam Khanal, NTA Chairman says “Some of the telecom operators though having license are not providing telecom service. So NTA will scrap the license of those telcos and give the same license to the foreign telecommunication companies”.

Telco, ISP holding licenses

Telecom companies like UTL, Nepal Satellite, Smart Telecom are either not providing service at all or not expanding it nationwide. It is not only telecom operators but there are some Internet service providers who hold the license but have not done enough to provide internet services to people.

Those telecom companies have also some pending dues to pay to NTA in the name of fees like Frequency Fees, Renewal Fees, Royalty Fees and for RTDF. NTA says they have altogether of around 4 billion rupees pending to collect from these telcos.

Recently NTA asked telcos like Nepal Satellite and Smart Telecom to pay the dues within few days. But since they were unable to pay the amount in that time, NTA now provides fresh deadline. NTA now gives 90 days time to Nepal Satellite to clear all the dues. NTA gives a stringent warn that they will cancel their licenses if they are unable to clear those dues.

Telecom companies in Nepal

As Smart Telecom has the largest dues, NTA directs them to pay 30 crore Rupees within 15 days. The 15 days deadline is going to finish this week. Further, they ask Smart Telecom to clear all the dues within 3 months, same as that of Nepal Satellite.

Nepal Satellite demands license to operate mobile network in Kathmandu

With the answer to the NTA’s request for the dues payment, Nepal Satellite company sends their commitment to pay 7 crore if they are given license to operate mobile network in Kathmandu. Nepal Satellite operates mobile network in Mid western and far western region.

Meanwhile for UTL, NTA has stopped requesting them to pay the dues and cancel license as they have got a Supreme Court Stay order.

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