UTL dispute leads to service disruption

13 Jan 2015

Employees of the Nepalese operator United Telecom Limited (UTL) are blaming management for network outages which have hit customers in eastern and western regions of the country over the past four days. A report from local website eKantipur says workers are accusing management of ‘tampering’ with equipment on purpose in an attempt to make employees look inefficient as they look to push through job cuts which would slash up to 60% of UTL’s workforce. Meanwhile, management have responded by claiming that disgruntled employees are refusing to repair the damaged infrastructure. Operators which fail to remedy service outages within 24 hours can face fines of NPR500,000 (USD5,000).

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UTL is 80%-owned by three Indian firms – Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Telecom Consultants India and Tata Communications – with the remainder held by Nepal Ventures Ltd (NVL). In September 2014 it was reported that MTNL was looking to offload its entire stake in UTL, with NVL emerging as the front runner to acquire its shares. UTL has around 500,000 subscribers nationwide.