Nepal govt to resume study into cross-holding of telecoms operators

17 Oct 2013

The government of Nepal plans to resume a review of its current policy on the management and regulation of the so-called ‘cross-holding’ of firms in the country’s telecoms sector – that is, when a company or individual holds equity in more than one licensee operating in the same service area. The regulator, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), has established a committee to carry out the study and submit its findings. It will work under the leadership of Bhaskar Mani Gyawali, executive director of the Nepal Rastra Bank, and has 30 days to complete its task. The government’s move comes in the wake of the recent confusion surrounding TeliaSonera – parent of mobile operator Spice Nepal Private (Ncell) – acquiring a majority stake in another operator, Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST), through its subsidiary TeliaSonera Asia Holding in 2012. Although TeliaSonera subsequently sold its shares in NST, selling back its indirect ownership to Zhodar Investment based in the British Virgin Islands last month, the government is reviewing whether or not to allow cross-holding and why. An initial study was launched in April.