Nepal's Smart seeks 18 months to meet license terms

29 Jun 2015

Nepal's Smart Telecom has requested an 18-month extension to fulfil the expansion terms of its old mobile license, after falling short of the deadline.

The operator was required to roll out services to 15 districts and 68 village development committees as a condition of its existing rural telecom license, the Himalayan Times said.

Smart Telecom secured a new unified license two years ago, allowing it to expand GSM and other services nationwide, but must still comply with the terms of the old license.

Regulator NTA had already instructed the operator to submit a revised deployment plan after the company failed to comply with the rollout terms of the unified license.

While the operator has rolled out over 400 new towers as part of its network expansion it has made no progress making services available to newer areas such as Kathmandu Valley, the report states.

Smart's rollout ambitions have been hindered by difficulty finding a strategic investment partner, a legal challenge to unified license provision and an internal share ownership dispute, among other issues.

The operator is currently 70% owned by Singapore's Lal Sahu Distribution, 20% by Nepal's Square Network and 10% by Israel's Gilat Network.

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