KATHMANDU, Dec 8: Importers and distributors of mobile sets in Nepal would soon need to compulsorily obtain type approval certification (TAC) for their products.
Such a situation has emerged mainly as Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) is preparing to intensify the enforcement of a provision on TAC, which is already there in the law.
In a bid to enforce the rule, officials said NTA is working out actions that it could take against the importers and distributors of mobile sets if they continued to market their products without TAC.
“We are preparing to start a stern market monitoring to enforce the TAC rule. We will also work closely with the telecom operators so that unregistered types (of handsets) are not allowed in the country,” said Binod Shrestha, assistant director at NTA.
According to NTA, distributors have so far acquired TAC to market only 738 models of handsets in Nepal. Those registered types include almost all models of brands like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Spice, Colors, Birds, Carbon and G´five.
“More than 50 percent of handset types sold in Nepal have not received due authorization so far,” said another NTA official. So much so, distributors of even popular brands like Apple, HTC and Sony have not approached the authority for approval to sell their sets in Nepal.
In a bid to enforce the rule, Shrestha said the NTA has also formed a taskforce to ease the process of issuing TAC.
At present, NTA is providing TAC on the basis of approval certificate issued by the regulators of developed countries. But the taskforce is now exploring the possibility of setting up a new system and hiring consultants for lab testing of the handsets, so that importers could be freed from the burden of producing certification from other countries.
“In order to ensure all the handsets to have TAC, we are preparing to work with the operators making it mandatory for the customers to provide IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number to obtain the SIM card,” Shrestha added. If implemented strictly, customers using unregistered handset might not be able to get the mobile service at all.
Telecom authority across the globe issue TAC only to the phone sets that meet minimum requirement particularly on technical and safety front. Although Nepal made TAC compulsory in 2008, lack of proper monitoring and enforcement has allowed many manufacturers and distributors to sell their products in Nepal without complying with the law.
As per the current system, NTA examines electro-magnetic compatibility, Electron Radio Frequency and safety making the manufacturer and authorized distributors liable to pay compensation for any harm or loss.
According to NTA, strict monitoring will also curb imports of handsets through illegal channels. “Many leading brands have not obtained TAC as they have no authorized dealers and the handsets are coming from illegal channels,” added Shrestha.