The Nepalese government says it is hoping to have awarded a unified communications licence to United Telecom Ltd (UTL) within the next few weeks. According to a report from The Himalayan, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has confirmed that UTL has paid the third instalment of the required licence fees, though it still owes more than NPR1 billion (USD9.3 million) which must be paid in instalments over the next five years. There are still some issues to clear up, the report suggests, including questions over fee payments and the operator’s rollout plan, but the paper quotes an NTA source as saying: ‘Hopefully we will be able to issue the unified licence to UTL within two weeks by resolving the complexities.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UTL is a fixed-wireless and limited mobility CDMA network operator in Nepal. In April 2013 it was given approval to upgrade its operating concession to a unified licence which would enable it to introduce full-blown cellular services. Since then, however, the company has undergone a number of disruptions, with its Indian shareholders seeking to exit the company, leaving domestic firm Nepal Ventures Private Ltd (NVL) to take over all investment, while the announcement of a job-cutting programme has seen a backlash from employees which has led to strikes and service disruptions.