Kathmandu, February 24 It has been more than one year since Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) published a notice seeking request for proposal from interested and eligible firms — both domestic and foreign — to provide telecommunications infrastructure service in Nepal. However, the telecommunication sector regulator has not been able to issue the planned telecommunication licence to ‘deserving’ firms who have applied for it. Following the call from NTA for the telecom infrastructure licence, aimed at promoting the sharing of infrastructure among telecom companies, eight foreign telecommunication firms had expressed their interest to provide telecommunication infrastructure service in Nepal. These firms from countries like the United States, India, China, Lebanon, Nigeria and Malaysia had submitted the request for proposal (RfP) at NTA showing their willingness to obtain telecommunications infrastructure service licence in Nepal. However, NTA has not been able to award such licence to eligible firms since the last one year. NTA plans to issue the telecom infrastructure service licence to two firms. Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA, said that the issue is currently being discussed at the board of NTA. “A separate committee had studied all the proposals that NTA had received for the telecom infrastructure service licence. Currently, the issue is being discussed at NTA board,” he said. Meanwhile, the issue regarding the telecom infrastructure service licence seems to have lost the priority of the government, especially after the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) came forward with a plan to form a separate infrastructure company inviting shares of different telecom companies operating in the country. However, Aryal is optimistic that the issue regarding the telecom infrastructure service licence will be sorted out soon. It is the first time that the government is gearing up to issue licence for the purpose. By issuing the telecommunications infrastructure service licence, NTA aims to promote the culture of telecommunications infrastructure sharing in the country and reduce the cost of telecommunication services. Currently, telecommunication service providers in the country have been developing their own infrastructure to cater telecommunication services across the country. As a result, telecom services are costlier in Nepal.