Ministry directs regulator to renew Nepal Telecom’s mobile licence

Ministry directs regulator to renew Nepal Telecom’s mobile licence

Ministry of Information and Communications last week directed the telecommunications regulator to renew mobile licence of Nepal Telecom without charging fee for the time being. Nepal Telecom has to pay Rs 20 billion to renew its GSM licence by May 11. But the minister-level decision of the ministry has directed the regulator to renew the licence under the Clause 20 of the Telecommunication Act 1997. The Telecommunication Authority’s board meeting tomorrow will take decision on Nepal Telecom’s licence renewal. After the renewal, the company will be able to operate mobile services till May 2019. Earlier in February to, Nepal telecom had partially paid Rs 189 million as licence renewal fee. It has also argued that the Rs 20 billion renewal charge was not rational and there was no clear provision regarding the fee for the second renewal. The Ministry of Communication can issue a directive to the regulator on diversification, extension and regularisation of telecommunications services, under the Act. Two years ago, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has asked the ministry to study the international provision and fix licence fee for the second renewal. The ministry has formed an eight-member committee led by communication Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma to recommend licence renewal fee. The committee will submit its recommendation within three months. The issue of the second time licence renewal fee also holds huge importance as it will also be applicable to other telecom companies like Ncell and Smart Telecom. The public listed company Nepal Telecom had in the last fiscal year too paid mobile renewal on installment basis.
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