The government renewed Ncell’s mobile licence – for the first time since the service provider received licence to operate – for the next five years.

The board meeting of Nepal Telecommunications Authority has renewed the licence of Ncell mobile as it has been paying installments of renewal fee. “Ncell has been paying Rs 2.5 billion in installment since last two years,” according to the authority that has fixed Rs 20 billion for the licence renewal.

Public Account Committee had some three years ago directed the government to collect Rs 20 billion for first renewal fee and fix the charge for second renewal fee based on international practices after the telecom operators and the government had dispute over the renewal fee.

As the telecom service providers requested to relax the renewal fee collection period, the government has decided to collect the renewal fee in eight installment.

Ncell has renewed its GSM mobile service for the first time after it changed its brand name from Spice Nepal that had started telecom service 10 years ago.

Ncell’s existing licence is expiring tomorrow.

Menawhile, a committee is studying on necessary amendment to Telecommunication Act 1997, as it has become outdated. The eight-member committee – formed in May – will also recommend renewal fee for the second time as the current one is not clear. The committee led by secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communications was supposed to submit the report within three months but it has not yet been able to finalise the report.

The report is also expected to recommend on planned auction of high value spectrum and attract more unified licence operators.

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