NTA’s decision to terminate licences of Smart, NST scrapped

Kathmandu, January 7

The Cabinet meeting on Monday has terminated the decision of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to scrap the licences of telecommunication service providers Smart Telecom and Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) and internet service provider WebSurfer.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) had earlier tabled the proposal to scrap the licences of these three firms following a recommendation from NTA. As these firms had failed to clear outstanding dues to the government, NTA board had decided to revoke their licences.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has also decided to allow these firms to clear their outstanding dues in two instalments — each of six months.

“The Cabinet has revoked NTA’s decision and allowed the three firms to clear their tax dues in instalments,” informed an official of MoCIT.

Following NTA’s decision to scrap the licences of these firms, they had registered a writ against the authority’s decision at the court. However, the Supreme Court had refused to stay NTA’s decision, following which these firms had appealed against the decision to the government. MoCIT had then taken the proposal to the Cabinet.

As per the NTA, Smart Telecom has not cleared outstanding dues worth Rs 2.3 billion, while NST and WebSurfer are yet to clear Rs 827 million and Rs 37 million, respectively.

Smart Telecom and NST, which have negligible stake in the country’s telecommunication industry, had failed to clear dues out of frequency fee, Rural Telecommunication Development Fund, interest and other fees despite repeated calls from NTA. These firms are also not focusing on expansion of telecommunication services, as per NTA.