Nepal’s telecoms regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), has authorised Ncell to use the 9MHz of additional frequency in the 1800MHz band it acquired in the country’s first spectrum auction in December 2019, reports The Himalayan Times. The regulator had originally warned that the bandwidth would only be released once Ncell, Nepal’s second largest mobile network operator (MNO), had paid its NPR22.5 billion (USD195 million) capital gains tax bill in full. The government has now directed the NTA to authorise its use, however, after Ncell paid an initial instalment of NPR4.5 billion.
The spectrum award is subject to Ncell meeting several conditions. The operator will initially be required to expand its 4G service across all 77 districts by the end of 2020, achieving 95% population coverage in district capitals, before providing coverage to at least 95% of country’s territory and population by the end of 2022. Ncell will also have to install 3,000 new 4G towers across the country by 2022, and achieve download speeds of at least 20Mbps in urban areas and 10Mbps in rural zones.