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Government can take over assets of telecom service providers

The government has introduced a new law that permits it to acquire assets of telecom service providers after their license expires.

By issuing the “Property Management Regulations of Telecommunication Service Providers Without a License 2079”, the government now has the authority to take over the property of telecommunication service providers.

The regulation states that the government can take the property of service providers through the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA), Technologykhabar writes. The telecom regulator can claim its authority on the service provider’s land, buildings, devices, equipment, telecommunication infrastructure, telecommunication system, and telecommunication network.

The legal provision for the takeover

Likewise, the management of the asset takes over proceeds in accordance with subsection 1 of Section 25 of the Permit Holders Act. It applies to the companies whose permit is automatically canceled pursuant to Section 5, or whose permit has been revoked pursuant to Section 28.

Further, the news pertaining to the license expiry must be published publicly one year before. In case the permit is canceled automatically or as per section 28, the notice of such cancellation should be published publicly.

However, in the case of a complaint filed with the Government of Nepal according to sub-section 5 of Section 28 of the Act, it will be published only after the complaint is settled.

Likewise, the service provider whose license period has expired has been prohibited from mortgaging or transferring property for 1 year.

The action plan for the transfer of assets of the telecommunication service provider whose license expires must be submitted to the Telecommunication Authority, and in this action plan, all details of the company’s movable and immovable assets, liabilities, equipment, etc. must be given.

Also read: History of Telecommunication in Nepal: Major Milestones

NTA has canceled the license of Hello Nepal

The regulator has revoked the service license of Hello Nepal. Likewise, it could also determine the same fate on Smart Cell soon. The decision is still pending its fate with a search for a third telecom company wider than ever.

The license period of some telecommunication service providers is about to reach 25 years. If the company can’t renew its license, NTA proceeds to acquire its assets.

Government brings a new regulation regarding the assets takeover of telecom service providers

Companies’ handover in their running state

Service providers with over 50 percent foreign investment must hand over their services while it is operating. For service providers with up to 50 percent investment, they have to hand over the entire service if they won’t renew their license.

The authority can also instruct a service provider to operate the service by specifying an additional period of up to 15 days.

Government to take control of all the assets

Service providers whose license has been canceled have got a separate provision. The regulation says that the government can control assets and telecommunication infrastructure, systems, and networks of such service providers. The process must start and be completed at the time of cancellation or termination of the license. It also says that the service provider must pay the entire liability within three months.

The government has a provision that a management group can be formed to operate the services of service providers whose licenses have been revoked or those who do not have licenses, and it has opened the way for the management and transfer of customers as well.

Check out: NTA Prepares for Unlicensed Spectrum | To Use Without Any Approval

Government can take over and auction off the assets of telecom service providers

Similarly, the regulation holds that the government can auction off the assets of the service providers after the takeover. The convenience will be offered to the buyer to pay in installments for up to a maximum of 7 years. Also, the highest bidder can get a new license to operate the service.

If the auction fails to sell off the property, the authority will cancel the license of such a service provider.

In case of success, NTA will issue a new license for the respective telecommunication service. A person or an organization that accepts the loan and donations can avail themselves of the service. And in such cases, NTA will grant the license to upgrade or make the service usable.

Moreover, the new service provider could get more frequencies by refarming new frequencies. Likewise, the provision regarding the maximum limit of specified frequencies will not apply when giving additional frequencies to such receivers.

Don’t miss: NTA MDMS is Live to curb grey phones in Nepal

Management group to head the company

The regulation has designated 5 members in the management group under the coordination of the member of the authority. The management group can form necessary working groups as per the need.

Service providers who do not have valid licenses will have to remove telecommunication structures. The members of the board of directors, managing director, CEO, etc. of such service providers will be personally accountable.

What do you make up for the hard stance from NTA regarding licenseless telecom service providers? Do offer your input in the comments below.

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