MoIC submits VoIP proposal for ratification ahead of licence allocation

6 Feb 2012 reports that Nepal’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has submitted plans to the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) looking for clearance for its proposal to open up voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services to any companies holding a requisite licence. The opening up of the IP telephony market in the kingdom is a pre-requisite of an agreement signed by the government with Asian Development Bank (ADB) on an ICT development project between the pair. As such, ADB is stumping up USD6 million towards a USD25 million state-backed ICT development project to bring cheap voice over broadband services (VoB) to the Nepali population.

The government approved the proposal in principle twelve months ago, but the MoIC put the plan on hold while it assessed the technical and economic implications of allowing VoIP to operate on an open basis. ‘We have completed a year-long study and have decided that there are no problems to launch the service,’ an official at MoIC is quoted as saying. The ministry says that only companies which currently operate broadband service in at least 25 districts including 1,300 Village District Communities (VDCs) will be awarded a VoIP licence. At present, Nepalese carriers can use the internet to make calls abroad, but terminating IP-based calls from abroad is illegal.