Telcos urged to invest in telecom infra firm

Kathmandu, November 18

The government has appealed for investment from the domestic telecommunication firms to form a telecommunication infrastructure company.

With a view to promote the sharing of telecommunication infrastructure, which would thereby ease expansion of telecommunication services across country and bring down the cost of telecommunication services, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MoCIT) has urged investment from the domestic telecommunication firms in setting up a telecommunication infrastructure company.

The telecommunication infrastructure company will develop and expand telecommunication infrastructure across the country and share it with telecommunication firms and even with internet service providers (ISPs), according to MoCIT officials.

“Domestic telecommunication firms have been investing millions of rupees independently in developing telecommunication infrastructure. As telecommunication infrastructure requires huge investment, telecommunication firms have not been able and are unwilling to expand their services across the country, especially in rural and Himalayan regions,” informed Gokul Prasad Baskota, minister for communications and information technology, adding that the government is ready to set up a telecommunication infrastructure company if domestic telecommunication firms are willing to invest in the initiative.

According to Minister Baskota, the trend of sharing telecommunication infrastructure among telecommunication firms and ISPs will be crucial in increasing people's access to telecommunication services and making them affordable.

Along with this, the minister also informed that the government will soon issue licence to telecommunication infrastructure service providers.

Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) - telecommunication sector regulator - had earlier sought request for proposal from interested and eligible firms to provide telecommunication infrastructure service in the country and promote sharing of telecommunication infrastructure.

Telecommunication firms from different countries including the US, India, China, Lebanon, Nigeria and Malaysia had expressed their willingness to obtain telecommunication infrastructure service licence in Nepal. However, NTA has not awarded the concerned licence to any firm so far.

“I expect NTA to award eligible firms the concerned licence within the next few weeks. Such licence will be issued to more than one firm to discourage monopoly,” informed Baskota.