Nepal | July 10, 2020

NTA permission mandatory for telcos to change share structure

Himalayan News Service
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  • Decision comes at a time when tax issues related to TeliaSonera selling its majority share in Ncell to Axiata is being hotly debated

Kathmandu, January 31

Telecom companies operating in the country will now have to take permission from Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) prior to making any changes in their share structure.

The first meeting of the High-level Monitoring Committee formed under the Telecommunication Policy, 2004, last week took a decision to this effect. The committee is headed by Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki.

Such decision from the government has come at a time when the tax issues related to TeliaSonera selling its majority share in Ncell to Malaysian telecom operator Axiata is being hotly debated.

Ram Chandra Dhakal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), said that the decision is aimed at regulating telecommunication industry of the country more effectively. “We have already directed NTA to make necessary amendments and implement the direction,” he said.

Until now, telecom operators did not need to inform the regulatory body while changing their share structure. They could make the changes in their share structure after fulfilling other legal procedures at the Department of Industry (DoI) and the Office of Company Registrar (OCR).

Meanwhile, NTA has said that it is expediting the process to implement the recent decision of the government by making necessary amendments in the existing telecommunication policies.

“We had notified United Telecom Ltd (UTL) and Smart Telecom Pvt Ltd that they would need to take permission from NTA before they make any changes in their share structure while issuing unified licence to them,” Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA, said. According to him, a few amendments might be required in the existing telecommunication policies to introduce such provision for other telecommunication service providers.

Currently, there are six telecom service providers in Nepal — Nepal Telecom (NT), Ncell, UTL, Smart Telecom, Nepal Satellite Telecom and STM Telecom.

The High-level Monitoring Committee meeting had also decided to make necessary amendments to Interconnection Guideline, 2008 and implement them. The meeting had also directed NTA to take necessary steps to control unhealthy competition among telecom service providers. The meeting had shown serious concerns over service charges being levied in an unscientific manner in a bid to outdo other telecom operators. It also directed telecom operators to deliver quality service to customers and introduce a provision to compensate customers in case of any halt or disturbance in regular services being provided.

Similarly, the meeting also recommended MoIC to make necessary amendments in Telecommunication Policy, 2004, Telecommunication Act 1997 and other telecommunication related guidelines and bylaws to make them more relevant.

 


A version of this article appears in print on February 01, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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