KATHMANDU, July 24: Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has resumed allocation of microwave frequency to the telcos after a gap of six months, enabling them to introduce or expand their services in specific location for better network coverage.
The meeting of Frequency Determination Committee of MoIC on Sunday decided to allow operators to allocate the frequency and import microwave equipment as per the existing regulations. The decision has also been approved by Minister of Information and Communicaitons Raj Kishor Yadav.
The expansion plan of telcos was hit after Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) refused approval of new permissions on instructions from Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The parliamentary body had ordered a halt to all decision regarding the frequencies until a new policy was enacted. NTA had then asked MoIC to decide on the issue.
Two private operators Ncell and Smart Telecom were unable to expand their services due to lack of equipment. In the absence of permission to import radio equipment, Ncell´s radio equipment for 200 mobile towers worth US $ 3.6 million was stopped at the custom.
Surya Bahadur Raut, member secretary of the committee said, “Operators can now receive the frequency as per the previous provision.” He said that the committee had also instructed the NTA to review the existing microwave frequency, and to come up with the new one. “Until a new provision is enacted, all the procedure will be followed through the existing Telecommunications Act,” added he.
Likewise, the committee also instructed NTA to review the price structure for microwave frequency. “The meeting pointed out the existing price structure for microwave frequency was low and asked NTA to come up with a new structure in the next meeting,” an official at MoIC said quoting the decision of the committee.
The official said the problem cropped up after NTA, which was taking the decisions, forwarded it to MoIC. “Since the probe of CIAA is ongoing, officials were hesitant to grant permission which not only caused problems for the operators, but also led to poor quality of service for customers,” the official added.