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NTA has revoked the license of Hello Nepal. The action comes after the Ajay Sumargi-owned telecom company (Nepal Satellite Telecom) failed to pay its royalties installment to the government.
A recent meeting of the Ministry of Council decided to terminate Hello Nepal’s telecom license.
Earlier, the government had decided to revoke the license for the telco after the company failed to pay its Rs.34 crores (appr.) in royalties in its second installment by Ashar 2078.
Previously, NTA had decreed Hello Nepal to pay 1.39 Arab (appr.) in five years installments. The satellite company was yet to clear its dues for frequency, royalties, RTDF, and license renewal dues to NTA.
A board meeting of NTA on Kartik 5 had decided to seek a response from the telco about the unpaid due charges by Ashar. Then on Kartik 12, the telecom authority then demanded clarification from the embattled telco within 15 days.
NTA spokesman Santosh Poudel says, it didn’t receive a convincing response from “Hello Nepal”, and continuing the same rationale from 2076 BS, the authority revoked its license. NTA Board executed Telecommunications Code 053, Schedule 28 Article 930 to implement its decision from Friday (November 28) onwards.
This is not the first time Hello Nepal’s license has been revoked by NTA. In 2076, the telecom authority stripped the telco of its authorization. However, the telecom company appealed for a review of the verdict by NTA.
There is a provision in Nepal’s Telecommunications Act that a telecom company can submit an application within 35 days to the Council of Ministers (CoM) to review the license revocation. As per this provision, the CoM had reversed NTA’s decision in Hello Nepal’s favor.
A meeting of the Council of Ministers on Poush 21, 2076 offered a reprieve to the telco. As per the decision, Hello Nepal had to pay its first installment in the then FY and the rest in installments within the next five years. If failed to pay within the stipulated period, the license would have been revoked.
Council of Ministers dictated that Hello Nepal was subject to pay 1 Arab, 38 crores, 72 lakhs, and 53 thousand in five years installments. In its first installment, the company paid 21 crores, and 51 lakhs in Ashar 2077.
In its second installment, the company was stipulated to pay 33 crores, 98 lakhs, by the end of Ashar 2078. Similarly, 30 crores, 86 lakhs in the third year, 27 crores, and 74 lakhs in the fourth year, and 24 crores, and 63 lakhs in the fifth year to fulfill its financial liability.
|S.N.||Year||Hello Nepal’s payment liability|
|Total||Rs.1,39 BN (appr.)|
Hello Nepal is one of the six telecom companies in Nepal but has been out of operation for a long time. The company had narrow service coverage in Mid-western and far-western regions but didn’t sustain.
Still, the satellite company is yet to pay the government Rs 90 crore in frequency, renewals, royalties, and other payments.
But while CoM has made the decision to revoke the license of Hello Nepal, the regulator NTA has not yet received the formal decision yet. NTA chairman Purushottam Khanal said the authority is yet to officially hear from the government regarding the decision.
“We have heard about the CoM’s decision to revoke the license of Hello Nepal. But we have not heard anything formally about it. We will now send a letter to the ministry (MoCIT) and try to learn more about it. The company’s operation is now deauthorized but it also requires to receive remaining arrears and other processes from the now-terminated telco,” Mr. Khanal said.
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