The Public Account Committee of the House of Representatives (HoR) has directed the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) not to sell the license of Smart Cell (Smart Telecom). The meeting which took place on October 11, Thursday issued the directive to the telecom regulator regarding the ill-fated private operator.
This came after the rumors that NTA is devising a regulation to resale the license of Smart. The parliamentary members of the committee accused the authority of manufacturing a new rule to give the license to another telecom company. A few days ago, Chaudhary Group requested for the approval to operate mobile services. It’s in the news though unsubstantially that authorities could amend the regulation to favor CG in obtaining the unified license. But Smart’s case hasn’t seen the completion as its asset management process continues to suffer obstacles. Related: CG Telecom Getting Smart Cell’s Frequencies?
Public Account Committee Members speak out against the sale of Smart Cell License Sale
Former Finance Minister opined that in the current state, no decision should be taken on Smart Telecom’s license. The government has a huge amount of revenue to generate from the fallen telco and Sharma said that reselling its license won’t be acceptable.
Another HoR member Arjun Narsingh KC warned that the government could lose a huge revenue if NTA sells the telco’s license to another company. He alleged that the telecom authority is introducing a new provision that legally allows it to sell Smart’s license to another company.
The committee’s Chairman Rishikesh Pokharel was less critical. He said that Smart’s ongoing issue necessitates further discussion and said that no decision would be reasonable in the current state. Likewise, he directed the Ministry of Communication, Information, and Technology (MoCIT) and NTA not to make any decision on Smart Telecom’s license sale. Prior to losing the license, Smart Cell provided 2G and 4G mobile services but failed to be a competitive player in the market.
Smart Cell has already lost its telecom service license and its frequencies are the topic of a hot debate. Many have voiced the need for a third telecom operator to disrupt the duopoly of Nepal Telecom and Ncell. At the same time, there’s a huge complexities surrounding the handling of Smart Telecom’s resources.
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