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Ncell confirms additional frequency in 1800 MHz with the first spectrum auction.

For the first-ever spectrum auction in Nepal, Ncell bids a higher amount than Nepal Telecom to secure additional frequency in the 1800 MHz band. Only two companies Ntc and Ncell were eligible to participate in the spectrum auction of the residual frequency in 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz. Out of this, NTA started the auction process from the 1800 MHz band and Ncell becomes the successful bidder.

The spectrum auction process started last year for the remaining frequency in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz band. But the process was on hold due to the court’s intervention at first and then due to the Ncell’s CGT case, which is almost settled now.

spectrum auction

As the telecom operators need to clear all the pending dues to be eligible, the top two telecom operators Ntc and Ncell applied for the first spectrum auction in Nepal.

The base price of per 1 MHz bandwidth in 1800 MHz was Rs 3 crore and 60 lakhs.

Bidding process

The first-ever spectrum auction took place at Soaltee Hotel in the Capital on Wednesday. The auction took 3 rounds of the bidding process and finally settled with the Ncell’s bid price per MHz at 5 crore and 80 lakhs. The final bid price amount of Ncell is higher than that of Ntc by around 80 lakhs.

In the first round, Nepal Telecom bid the price of per MHz bandwidth at Rs 3 crore and 78 lakhs while Ncell bid at Rs 3 crore and 96 lakhs. Then the base price was increased by 5 percent to the second round. Then Ntc bid at Rs 4 crore 20 lakhs and Ncell bid at Rs 4 crore and 32 lakhs in the second round.

Lastly, in the third round, Ncell bid Rs 5 crore and 80 lakhs while Ntc bid at Rs 5 crore and 1 lakh amount per MHz bandwidth. With the highest amount of bid price, Ncell won the auction to get the additional frequency.

Both the companies got 20 minutes, 30 minutes and 50 minutes time period to submit the sealed bid price for first, second and third round.

Although the bidding process culminated in the Ncell’s win, NTA will provide the additional frequency to Ncell, only after settling the CGT issue with the payment of the allocated amount of Rs 21 Arab and 10 crores.

CG Telecom’s petition

CG Telecom filed a petition to Supreme Court seeking a stay order in the spectrum auction process. As they were not qualified to participate in the first auction, they believe it will do a harm to the company for the long term. But as the court did not decide on the stay order, the spectrum auction went ahead on Wednesday.

1800 MHz band

1800 MHz band in the most popular spectrum for 4G technology. Previously the same spectrum was used for GSM (2G) technology only. Now with the grant of technology neutrality license of that band, telecom companies can use the same spectrum for any technology.

Earlier Ncell used a frequency sharing technology to maximize the use of scarce and expensive resources. It has been a year that NTC got 800 MHz spectrum to expand its 4G to all parts of the country. Find the things you need to check before you buy a 4G smartphone.

Now, there is a residual spectrum chunk of 16 MHz in 1800 MHz, for which NTA went for auction. With the limitation in the total bandwidth as per Radio Spectrum Policy, any telecom operator can get up to 20 MHz bandwidth in the 1800 MHz spectrum.

As Ncell has already got 11 MHz bandwidth, they will get 9 MHz more frequency in the 1800 MHz band. The question still remains if they could get the continuous bandwidth and what will they do for the remaining bandwidth. More spectrum for a telecom operator means they can easily upgrade the capacity of its mobile network in an effective way.

Some experts in the telecom industry cite the auction as just an act. They opine that as only two operators could bid in the process, they could have simply distributed the whole bandwidth to both.

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