Though the government had envisioned bringing in infrastructure service provider in the country’s telecom industry long time back, the government is yet to issue licences for the purpose to any firm.
In November last year, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) — the telecom sector regulator of the country — had opened licences for interested firms to provide telecommunications infrastructure service in Nepal. Following such call from NTA, five foreign telecommunication firms had expressed their interest to provide telecommunications infrastructure service in Nepal in December.
However, NTA is yet to award the telecommunications infrastructure licence to any competitive firm though it has been more than three months since the deadline given to interested firms to submit their applications has closed.
NTA has plans to initially issue telecommunications infrastructure service licence to two eligible firms. “The entire process of bringing in infrastructure service provider in the country’s telecom industry was delayed after a writ was filed a few months back at the Supreme Court against the licensing process,” informed Min Prasad Aryal, spokesperson for NTA.
However, Aryal informed that a technical committee at NTA has been evaluating all the proposals submitted by foreign firms following a nod from the Supreme Court to continue the licence issuing process.
“We will soon award the licence to the eligible firms,” added Aryal.
NTA had envisioned issuing such licence to promote the joint use of telecom infrastructure among telecom operators in the country as individual domestic telecom firms today have to develop their own telecom infrastructure to expand telecom services injecting huge investments. Once telecom companies start sharing telecom infrastructure, NTA expects telecom services to become cheaper in Nepal.
However, the telecommunications service provider will charge a certain amount from the operators for utilising the infrastructure.
According to NTA, the firm that acquires telecommunications infrastructure service licence will develop relevant telecommunications infrastructure across the country, basically in rural areas and allow telecommunications service providers to use the infrastructure to deliver their services.