Supreme Court issues show-cause order in unified licence wrangle

20 Jun 2013

eKantipur reports that in response to a petition from Nepalese operator STM Telecom Sanchar against the government’s decision to issue unified telecom licences, the country’s Supreme Court (SC) this week issued a show-cause order to the defendants in the matter – the regulator, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), and fellow operators United Telecom Limited (UTL) and Smart Telecom. The order mandates that a person, business or corporation attend the court to provide reasons why the court should not ‘perform or not allow a particular action’, and also requires the aforementioned party to meet the prima facie case as laid out in the applicant’s complaint. Further, the SC has also ruled to continue the hearing of STM’s case relating to unified licences. The parties involved have been ordered to show-cause before 24 June, the online portal says.

Earlier this year the NTA issued unified licences to Smart Telecom and UTL, assigning each 5MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz band. However, STM – which also applied – had its application denied, with the watchdog saying it would issue it with a concession ‘later’ as it had so far failed to meet the minimum terms and conditions stipulated by the government. It is understood that STM may argue that its rivals also failed to meet the criteria: UTL may not have paid off its royalty fees, while it is unclear whether or not Smart’s eligibility for the licence has been confirmed.