Smart Telecom has missed the deadline to pay the pending dues to NTA. Before the regulator directed the telco to pay several fees or face license cancellation. Now that Smart Telecom failed to pay the fees, NTA is known to move ahead for the license cancellations in the same way like that to Nepal Satellite Telecom (Hello Mobile).
Smart Telecom owes more than 2 billion Rupees to NTA, for several fees. Out of which the telco paid Rs 30 crores (300 million) to NTA to save itself from the consequences, in Aug 2019. That time, they were asked to pay the remaining 2 billion and 590 million within 3 months.
Recently NTA had also terminated the contract with Smart Telecom for a section of the Mid-Hill optical fiber project.
NTA had warned all the telcos to clear the dues on multiple occasions. As the NTA board decided to give a final notice to the telcos with huge pending fees, they can cancel the license of telcos who fail to pay the fees. The pending fees are in the name of frequency fees, license renewal fee, Royalty fee, and RTDF fees.
As Nepal Satellite Telecom company (Hello Mobile) could not pay those fees, NTA canceled the license of the telco. Now they have made a request tot the government to review the decision.
NTA spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal says “NTA board will decide further on the Smart Telecom license as per the law and previous decision. As the telco could not pay the amount within the time given by NTA, the license cancellation process will automatically start”.
Meanwhile, Smart Telecom has asked for some flexibility in the payment. They seek the facility for the payment in installments like the one given to the UTL case.
Smart Telecom is the third largest telecom operator of Nepal with around 2 lakhs users base. Smart Telecom has 2G and 4G mobile coverage in around 45 districts of the country. The Telecom company holds a unified license to operate any mobile service across the country.
NTA also plans to give those revoked licenses to foreign companies as a new telco operator. They want to make the market more competitive and also discourage the tendency to hold the licenses.
With various telcos and ISP’s holding the license without expansion, NTA has become quite stiff in revoking the license of such service providers.
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