Nepal Telecom (NT) has paid the initial deposit for the renewal of its GSM mobile licence which is due to expire on 11 May, despite not having been told the full cost to renew its concession. According to a report from local news portal eKantipur, the telco has handed over NPR189 million (USD1.87 million), which it says amounts to 90% of the required licence fee, even though the industry regulator, the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), maintains that the cost to renew a GSM permit for a further five years stands at NPR20 billion.
The telco is refusing to pay the requested fee, however, complaining that it is unreasonable and that there is nothing in legislation which covers the second-time renewal of a GSM licence. The country’s cabinet had said it would look into the possibility of revising the fees, but the promised work has not been carried out, NT says. The operator claims it has requested five meetings with the NTA in recent months but has not heard back from officials. For its part, the NTA says cabinet is not able to make decisions on licence fees, solely on service-related issues, and it adds that NT is now liable for a 15% late payment penalty on top of the NPR20 billion renewal amount.