NTA calls for interconnection charge cuts

9 Jan 2009

Telecoms regulator the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has issued a directive calling on the country’s four main service providers to reduce their interconnection charges from 12 February, eKantipur reports. The watchdog is looking for Nepal Telecom, United Telecom, Spice Nepal and ATM Telecom Communication to cut the range of fees from the current NPR0.60-NPR2.52 (USD0.007-USD0.032) range to between NPR0.14 and NPR0.90. The chairman of the NTA, Bhesh Raj Kandel, is quoted as saying that its intervention is the direct result of operators having ignored an earlier directive. The regulator originally directed operators to reduce their interconnection charges on 1 May 2008, but they have ignored the new rules for eight months. ‘We are now going to make sure the telecom companies implement it,’ said Kandel.

Under the NTA’s new scheme, telecoms operators will not be able to charge an interconnection fee of more than NPR0.14 for a local call and NPR0.32 for a STD call. For intra-zonal and inter-zonal STD calls, the carrier charges have been set at NPR0.48 and NPR0.50 respectively. In addition, the regulator has set the mobile-to-mobile interconnection charge at NPR0.54 (for all domestic calls), NPR0.54 for fixed-to-mobile calls and NPR0.14 for a call from a PSTN fixed telephone to UTL’s limited mobility phone service.