Kathmandu, July 8
Minister for Information and Communications, Gokul Baskota, has said that the ongoing anti-graft body’s probe regarding Nepal Telecom (NT)’s 4G expansion plan has hampered the telecom firm’s readiness to expand its 4G internet service nationwide.
In response to queries on the appropriation bill relating to his ministry at the meeting of the Upper House today, Minister Baskota said that the probe of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) on NT’s 4G expansion plan has been lingering since long, thereby obstructing NT from expanding its 4G service and remaining competitive in the telecommunication industry.
“The probe should not be carried out in such a way that it affects the entire 4G expansion plan of NT,” said Baskota.
During the meeting, lawmakers had raised questions on the inability of NT to expand 4G service nationwide unlike other telecom firms.
Though NT was the first telecom firm to launch 4G service in Nepal back in January 1 last year, it has not been able to take the service beyond Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. On the other hand, NT’s competitor Ncell has expanded its 4G service to more than two dozen cities across the country though it launched its 4G service almost five months after Nepal Telecom launched its 4G service.
Earlier, NT had planned to expand 4G service simultaneously across the country and had called for a global tender for the same. However, prior to NT awarding the contract to applicable bidder to accomplish the task, CIAA had taken away all files related to the 4G expansion plan from NT suspecting involvement of anomalies in the process. Since then, NT’s 4G expansion plan has been affected completely.
Meanwhile, CIAA officials said that the probe into NT’s 4G case will be resolved soon.
Addressing the Upper House meeting, Minister Baskota also expressed his commitment to take action against telecommunication service providers who have failed to submit the interconnection charge.
A version of this article appears in print on July 09, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.