MoIC asks NTA to renew Nepal Telecom's GSM licence and waive fee ‘for now’

9 May 2014

Nepal’s Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) yesterday directed the regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), to renew sate-owned Nepal Telecom (NT’s) GSM mobile licence without charging it the planned NPR20 billion (USD210.8 million) fee ‘for now’. With NT’s GSM licence set to expire on 11 May, the MoIC is concerned that the watchdog has yet to resolve the issue which stems back to February this year when the telco queried the fairness of the fee. At that date NT said that it had submitted a partial payment of BRL189 million to renew the licence, but sought the intervention of the MoIC on the matter, as in its view the NPR20 billion renewal charge was ‘not rational and there was no clear provision regarding the fee for the second renewal’. In response, the NTA has issued a statement saying: ‘MoIC has asked us, based on Clause 20 of the Telecommunication Act 1997, to renew the permit,’ adding that the board is expected to take a decision on NT’s licence renewal when it meets today. After the renewal, the company will be able to operate mobile services until May 2019.