National industry regulator the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) says that the nation’s telcos have collectively made advance payments of NPR1.48 billion (USD15.1 million) in frequency fees to the government, under the country’s new spectrum usage policy. The fees relate to the use of radiowave spectrum for 2G and 3G (mobile), WiMAX, very small aperture terminal (VSAT) and satellite telephone services, under the remit of the Telecommunications Radio Frequency Distribution and Pricing Policy (2012), which was finally adopted last year. According to NTA deputy director Ambar Sthapit, state-owned Nepal Telecom (NT) paid NPR746.4 million and privately owned cellco Spice Nepal Private (Ncell) paid NPR441.7 million. The former has been using its maximum frequency allocation for mobile services in the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, while Ncell has reportedly been using additional spectrum in the 90MHz and 1800MHz bands for its GSM services. Furthermore, the pair each paid the NTA NPR240 million for usage of 2×10MHz of spectrum for 3G services, while NT (the sole firm offering WiMAX on a commercial basis) paid NPR120 million in frequency fees for this wireless broadband service.
Additionally, United Telecom Limited (UTL) handed over NPR45 million, Smart Telecom NPR126 million and Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST) NPR124.4 million, with Sthapit noting that NST has been using an additional 9MHz of frequency, which it has been allocated by the government. However, CG Communications (formerly known as STM Telecom Sanchar) reportedly failed to pay its fee of NPR19.2 million, and now faces a fine equivalent to 2% of the fees due, and could see its spectrum rights revoked if it fails to pay within six months.