Nepal’s regulator considers plan for national roaming regulation

30 Mar 2012

The mountain Kingdom’s industry regulator the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is preparing to establish a new set of regulations for national roaming, the Himalayan News Service reports. If implemented, the move could prove a boon to millions of subscribers across the country. The NTA published a consultation paper on the matter in November last year, giving telcos one month to submit their comments. However, in the wake of requests from service providers, the consultation was extended by another month and it is now reviewing feedback.

Nepal does not have a national roaming policy, meaning that as it stands there is no facility for one mobile carrier to ‘extend’ the reach of its services via a roaming agreement with a rival operator. Although the NTA is keen to redress this, the issue of agreeing contracts and tariffs could be a problem whilst the new regime is put in place. Ananda Raj Khanal, a director at the NTA said: ‘National roaming agreement may bring in controversy if the regulator fails to ensure a level playing field and convince all telecom service providers [that they] will have a win-win situation from the agreement’. The watchdog is currently preparing a new standard contract for roaming and trying to increase awareness among domestic operators of the potential benefits. As part of this plan the regulator intends not only to develop new rules and regulations for national roaming, but it will also look to institute an arbitration mechanism to resolve disputes between operators.