The NTA board has agreed to remove the sub-section (gha) of Section 3 in the old action plan. On the other hand, the regulator has also made changes to the sub-section of (ka) of section 4 setting new use cases for toll-free numbers.
Likewise, these new changes will also help create uniformity for toll-free numbers. From now on, a toll-free must be of 11 digits. Similarly, sub-section (ka) states that any organization can use such toll-free numbers to provide information to their customers.
The new amendments also hold that different number ranges will be available for domestic and international toll free numbers.
Separate ranges for domestic and international toll free numbers
Previously, the domestic toll-free number started with 1660. With new changes, they will now start with 1810 with the following number being an operator code. The remaining 6 digits would represent the organization providing the toll-free service.
Similarly, international toll-free numbers would start with 1800. Any foreign company with a service for Nepali customers can offer a toll-free number in Nepal.
Importantly, the Sub-section (gha) of Section 7 states that toll-free numbers will be free of cost for users when a call takes place from one network to another network-provided toll-free number. For this, interconnection will be established among the carrier providers.
The advantage is that the public would be able to call on any toll-free regardless of the service provider. Previously, a call wouldn’t always initiate if the caller and the toll-free number were not on the same network.
NTA has emphasized making toll-free practically free of cost with a new set of changes. And for this, the regulator has inserted the clause of reverse interconnection.
With reverse interconnection, whenever a particular operator-provided toll-free number receives a call from another mobile network, the former has to pay the latter a sum. That is if you make a call to any toll free on a different network, the cost won’t be deducted from your main balance. That makes the toll free practically a free call which has not been the case for much yet.
NTA Director Ambar Sthapit says the regulator has informed network providers about new amendments to toll-free numbers. The service providers will gradually upgrade their systems to adhere to new changes. This should take a few weeks to months.