NTA to bring service providers in line

Kathmandu, March 1:

Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) — the regulatory authority of telecom service providers — will make them comply with its directive to reduce interconnection charge.

“We are putting pressure on them,” said a senior NTA official. NTA on January 8 issued directives to telecom service providers to operate under Section 15 of the Telecommunication Act-2053 BS.

NTA has informed all its service providers — Nepal Telecom (NT), United Telecom Ltd (UTL),

Spice Nepal Pvt Ltd and STM Telecom Communication Pvt Ltd — to reduce Interconnection

Usage Charge (IUC).

NTA had urged them to reduce the interconnection charge from February 12, but till date not a single service provider has complied.

According to the NTA directive, the charge for calling from one mobile service provider to another mobile service provider should be reduced to 54 paisa per minute. They are currently charging Rs 1 to Rs 2.25 per minute.

“We are not against providing cheaper services to our consumers,” Amarnath Singh, managing director of NT, said adding that it was ready to reduce the interconnection charge.

“At present, we are studying the probability of the interconnection charge reduction,” he said. Currently, NT is also charged with poor quality of its mobile service. Singh blamed irregular power supply for the worsening quality of the NT mobile service. The batteries of the BTS towers could not be charged due to prolonged powercut.

According to technocrats, they have planned the BTS towers keeping in mind only six to eight hours of power disruption.

“Naturally, the BTS towers cannot work properly because of the present over 16-hour powercut,” Singh said adding that NT is planning to install solar power panels or generators for back-up for the BTS towers. “The upgradation of the BTS system is also on the cards,” Singh spelled out.

However, according to experts power plays only a 40 per cent role in the mobile service quality. “The planning and networking, designing, quality of equipment, radio frequency optimisation and topography play a vital role in the overall quality of the mobile phone service,” said Ananda Raj Khanal, director at the regulatory authority of the telecom service providers.