Nepalese fixed-wireless and limited mobility CDMA operator United Telecommunications Limited (UTL) is poised to collect its new unified licence and launch full-blown cellular services in the country. The operator finally paid its licence fee and the first instalment of the attached renewal fees, just two days ahead of today’s deadline to take the licence, The Himalayan Times reports. Industry regulator the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) confirmed on Wednesday that UTL had applied to take its licence, paying the outstanding NPR252 million (USD2.5 million) licence fee and an additional NPR50 million – the first instalment of licence renewal fee. An NTA board meeting is set to take place today and will likely rule in favour of UTL’s bid to operate GSM mobile services in the mountain nation.
In February this year, CommsUpdate reported that the NTA ordered UTL to pay for the unified licence within 30 days or risk losing its wireless spectrum. However, after failing to take its licence within the government’s original directed deadline (i.e. March 2015), UTL approached NTA again asking for a two months’ reprieve – which is expiring on Friday. UTL is 80%-owned by three Indian companies – Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Telecommunications Consultants India and Tata Communications – with 20% held by a domestic firm called Nepal Ventures. A unified licence would enable UTL to utilise its frequencies for a full mobile network launch.