Telecom infra licence issuance in limbo
Kathmandu, June 22
Though it has been almost seven months since different foreign firms expressed their interest to provide telecommunications infrastructure service in Nepal, the government has not been able to award the concerned licence to the eligible firms.
Publishing a notice in November last year, Nepal Telecommunications Authority — telecommunications sector regulator of country — had sought request for proposal from interested and eligible firms — both domestic and foreign — to provide telecommunications infrastructure service in country.
However, delay in the issuance of the telecommunication infrastructure service licence hints towards the fact that the issue is gradually losing priority of government.
Acknowledging that the entire process of bringing in telecommunication infrastructure service provider has been delayed, Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA, said, “Firstly, the entire process of bringing in infrastructure service provider was delayed after a writ was filed a few months back at the Supreme Court against the licensing process.”
According to NTA officials, the process got further delayed with the formation of a new government and change in leadership at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC).
“The new leadership at MoIC has been studying the entire process, its need and prospects,” added Aryal.
However, NTA officials stated that bringing in telecommunication infrastructure service provider is the need of the domestic telecommunication industry and eligible firms will soon be awarded the licence for it.
NTA has plans to initially issue telecommunications infrastructure service licence to two eligible firms.
The government earlier envisioned issuing such licence to promote the joint use of telecom infrastructure among telecom operators in the country. In the context of individual domestic telecom firms today developing their own telecom infrastructure to expand telecom services, injecting huge investments, once telecom companies start sharing telecom infrastructure, NTA expects telecom services to become cheaper in Nepal.
Though the telecommunication infrastructure service provider will share its infrastructure with telecom firms, it will charge a certain fee from the operators for utilising the infrastructure.