Nepal’s second-largest telecom operator Ncell has not received its Payment Service Provider license yet. The economic survey report 2077/78 had mentioned Nepal Government affording both telcos NTC and Ncell PSP license to launch their mobile money service. However, Ncell has revealed that they have not yet received such a license from the government.
When the survey report came out, there were questions about Ncell’s subsidiary company and its progress on the mobile money platform. However, the private telco has confirmed that it is yet to get a nod from the government.
The report said Ncell acquired the license for mobile financial service (MFS) and mobile transactions after the agreements between Nepal Rastra Bank and Nepal Telecommunications Authority this fiscal year.
Meanwhile, NTC has set up a subsidiary company NDPC with Rastriya Banijya Bank. Their mobile money service Namaste Pay had a soft launch at the hands of Hon. PM KP Oli on national ICT Day.
Ncell says it had asked for a no-objection approval from NTA in 2073 Shrawan to launch its payment service. But due to complicated policies for a payment service operator’s license, the approval took a long delay.
Finally, the government’s official regulation policies became much clear in 2076 when NTA and Nepal Rastra Bank signed agreement papers on payment service operations. In Ashadh 2 of 2076, NTA had allowed Ncell to set up its own subsidiary company and launch a digital payment service.
Ncell was given a nod on the condition that it set up a subsidiary company with Nepal Rastra Bank and launch its digital wallet service with it. But, today Ncell also made it clear that it has not established a subsidiary company yet. But Ncell says it has pursued a Payment Service Provider since 2016 but its other priorities have dissuaded it.
Bhuwan Kandel, Payment System Depart Director at NRB has said no decision has been taken on Ncell’s PSP license. He said it has not issued a PSP license to Ncell or its subsidiary company yet. He further revealed that the federal bank has stopped entertaining new applications for new PSP companies since last Shrawan.
Ncell’s today’s confirmation means there would be more delay in its mobile money service launch. But Ncell is adamant about launching its own e-wallet soon in the future as its competitor. So let’s be speculative about its possible characteristics.
Two Wallet System!
It is possible that the company will introduce two wallet systems: offline and online. Offline payment could allow Ncell customers to pay for goods and services out of their SIM Card’s main balance. Meanwhile, while online service might be a fully-featured digital wallet with Ncell’s signature services.
For now, Ncell’s road to the PSP license seems bumpy. Its lack of a subsidiary company and a PSP license will delay its mobile money service for a stretch. However, Ncell would certainly step up its efforts as its immediate competitor NTC is about to launch its full-version of Namaste Pay. So, let’s hope Ncell does bring everything in its favor and accelerates its mobile money launch.
When Ncell brings its own mobile money service what services would you expect from it? Let us know in our comments section below.