Nepal Telecommunications Authority has decided to charge Nepal Telecom for the frequency fees of the 2300MHz band. Nepal Telecom has been using the band for WiMAX technology and had even planned to utilize it for 4G.
NTA board has come up with the decision to take frequency fees for the 2300 MHz band from Nepal Telecom. Before, NTA awarded the spectrum to Ntc for BWA (Broadband Wireless access), and to define the fees after Auction.
2300 MHz: A Tech Neutral Band
Though the band is already defined as tech neutral spectrum (allowing it to use for 4G), Nepal Telecom uses it for WiMAX service only. But NTA decision now binds Ntc to pay frequency fees as per the technology neutrality.
The regulator blames Nepal Telecom for just hoarding the frequency and not utilizing the tech-neutral band with full potential. As per them, this has put an effect on the government revenues and also deprive customers of new technology/services.
Earlier Nepal Telecom had requested NTA not to charge the full frequency fees, citing several reasons (including the inability to utilize 4G in the band). The regulator was also conforming to the Ntc’s request for the 2300 MHz frequency fees.
NTA states that the frequency fee of the band for the current fiscal year 2078/79 should be paid by Nepal Telecom within the next month.
Now, Ntc needs to pay Rs 90 lakhs (9 million rupees) per MHz for the 2300 MHz frequency. As they own 30 MHz of the bandwidth in 2.3GHz, the total amount to pay for a year becomes Rs 27 crore (270 million rupees).
Nepal Telecom has already revealed its plan to shut down WiMAX service within this fiscal year. One of the reasons is the massive interference from Indian telco Jio in the band. But now it is not clear, whether they will be using the 2300MHz band for other technologies like 4G/5G or return it to NTA, after the shutdown.