Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has made a new regulation that paves the way for it to take back unused frequency spectrum from telecom companies. The newly passed Telecommunication Service Based Radio Frequency Policy has made this provision which was decided a couple of weeks ago. That allows NTA to legitimately take back the spectrum hoarded by United Telecom Limited (UTL).
This policy will prevent telcos from hoarding the airwaves and instead encourage them to use the resources. Or else, NTA will bring it back which will free up the spectrum for others to use. The authority can allocate them to other service providers via spectrum auctions. The authority has received criticism in the past for not doing much about telcos holding the frequency without using them.
The committee’s meeting chaired by the communication minister (MoCIT) Rekha Sharma passed the new policy. The meeting revoked the earlier provision which was lenient on telcos for not fully committing to using frequency spectrum after getting them from the authority.
This new policy will discourage the act of not operating communication services while just holding the frequency. Likewise, it will ensure the maximum utilization of the frequency and contribute to better service quality. Using the frequencies to their optimum capacity also helps form a competitive telecom market.
NTA will take back unused telecom frequencies after six months of Notice
With this policy, NTA will have the authority to get back the frequencies from telcos that only hold them. However, a member of the committee shared that the authority will allow service providers a six-month period to process the spectrums into the service.
“If a company does not comply with the instructions from the authority to provide service by using the unused frequency, it will be automatically returned,” a member of the committee said. Check out: How to Check 4G and 5G Band Support on Your Smartphone?
UTL’s frequencies to go back to NTA
The new regulation could inflict the first act on United Telecom Limited (UTL). The telco has been out of service for a long and remains short of due payment. However, it still continues to possess frequencies. UTL has 850, 900, and 1800 MHz band frequencies. It has 2.5 MHz frequencies in the 850 MHz band, 5 MHz in the 900 band, and 12 MHz in the 1800 MHz band totaling 19.5 MHz.
Now, UTL having not operated its service for years, will have to return the frequencies to NTA. Going by the process, first UTL will get a 6-month notice from the regulator to resume services. If the telco fails to adhere, the company will “automatically” lose its spectrums.
UTL has Rs 5.30 billion due to pay to NTA. For similar reasons, Smart Telecom lost its telecom license this year.
There could be a tendency to hold the frequency and not use it to avert competition in the industry. But radio waves are the key asset of the state and are to be used for services. Communication is an essential service and spectrums are an indispensable part of it. As the regulator, its policy will ensure the rightful utilization of the frequencies. Further, we will get back to you for more details on the newly approved spectrum policy. Stay tuned!!
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