The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has announced that Ncell, Nepal’s second largest mobile network operator (MNO) in terms of subscribers, has won the auction for residual spectrum in the 1800MHz band, after submitting a final bid of NPR58 million (USD503,629). Ncell, which already has rights to 2×11MHz of 1800MHz frequencies, will be allocated an additional 2×9MHz spectrum from the 2×16Mhz available, as the NTA’s rules limit operators to 2×20MHz in the band. However, the NTA has stated the award will not be finalised until Ncell has paid its outstanding NPR21.1 billion capital gains tax bill.
Originally announced in December 2018, the auction was delayed by legal action brought by CG Telecom, which was not eligible to take part under the NTA’s terms. In the event only Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell expressed an interest, with NTC reportedly submitting an unsuccessful bid of NPR50.01 billion in the final round of the auction.