The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is holding a case study to determine whether or not privately owned operator Smart Telecom is eligible to acquire a unified licence in the country. The rural telecom services provider applied for a new concession in November last year, following the government’s May 2012 announcement that it had adopted the unified licence plan. The new licences allow telcos to operate on a ‘technology-neutral’ basis, as such freeing them to offer fixed, fixed-wireless and/or GSM/CDMA mobile, as well as international long-distance calls. The watchdog has dispatched a team to assess whether Smart has fulfilled all the current licensing conditions, NTA director Ananda Raj Khanal said.
If the operator is successful in its bid to secure a unified licence, it will receive a further 3MHz of spectrum with which to expand its services. Smart currently provides services in 25 administrative districts of the country, via limited mobility technology. It is required to provide at least two telephone lines in 398 Village Development Committees (VDCs) of the eastern region where there was no telephone services until 2007. Smart Telecom is the second player to apply for a new concession. Nepalese limited mobility specialist United Telecom Limited (UTL) submitted an application for a unified licence in October.