Nepal's NTA told to stop issuing 3G spectrum

Dylan Bushell-Embling
14 Dec 2011

A Nepalese watchdog has ordered regulator Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to stop allocating 3G spectrum to operators, and to put on hold a proposed unified licensing plan.

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has instructed NTA to put its plans on hold until an independent investigation into the proposal is completed, Nepal's Republicareported.

The CIAA is concerned that NTA has started giving away spectrum that had initially been allocated on a temporary basis, including 4 MHz to Ncell, and potentially 8.4MHz to Nepal Telecom.

It is acting on a complaint alleging that allocating frequencies without a spectrum auction, and issuing unified licenses allowing telecom operators to provide any service under a single permit, could lead to “major revenue losses for the government.”

The complaint also alleges that the unified licenses decision may have been influenced by interest groups.

An investigation into the issue will now be conducted by a parliamentary body, the Public Accounts Committee.

Nepal's southern neighbor India is in the midst of an ongoing scandal over a government decision to allocate 2G spectrum without conducting an auction. The former telecom minister is alleged to have colluded with some stakeholders to ensure spectrum went to them and not their rivals.

The failure to conduct an auction for the spectrum is alleged to have cost the government around $39 billion in lost revenue.

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