NTA seeks advance payment of wireless frequencies

19 Aug 2013

The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is seeking to implement measures that would require all domestic telecoms operators to make payments for their 3G mobile, WiMAX and satellite (mobile) services in advance, and as such, as asked the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) for its go-ahead to apply the rule. Under the plan, as reported by eKantipur News, the regulator will request service providers to pay their frequency fees within the first three months of a given financial year (i.e. mid-July to mid-October). Although the NTA ushered in a new ‘Telecommunications Radio Frequency Distribution and Pricing Policy’ in 2012, it omitted to incorporate a fee collection schedule for wireless-based services. Explaining the measure, NTA Director Ananda Raj Khanal said: ‘The existing policy holds the companies responsible for paying the determined fee only for additional, maximum frequency and VSAT by the first three months of each year’.

To date, state owned Nepal Telecom (NT) and privately run Ncell have each been using 2×10MHz of frequencies for 3G mobile services and will each pay NPR240 million (USD2.45 million) per annum in fees, while the former has also been using a 30MHz block of spectrum for wireless broadband WiMAX services (launched last year); it is being charged NPR12 million per year for the rights to these frequencies. In addition, two other firms – i4 Technologies and Constellation – each offer a satellite-based Global Mobile Personal Communication Service (GMPCS) service, and will each have to pay NPT15,000 per MHz, for spectrum use.