NTA chairman advocates urgent attention to telecom sector challenges

KATHMANDU: Bhupendra Bhandari, recently appointed Chairman of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), has underscored the critical need for immediate action to address existing policy, legal, technological, and regulatory challenges in the telecommunications sector.

In a speech during the 26th-anniversary celebration of the NTA on Sunday, Chairman Bhandari highlighted the importance of coordinated efforts with the government to swiftly tackle these issues and prevent potential systemic failures within the overall telecom sector.

Chairman Bhandari delved into the ongoing provision of the Bhawisya Service by Nepal Telecom since 2081 B.S. and Ncell since 2086 B.S., expressing concern about irregularities. He attributed the urgency in addressing these issues to the lack of clear legal provisions related to new permits, emphasizing the need for a robust regulatory framework.

“We currently have only two service providers out of six that have been granted licenses, resulting in a duopoly market. Such a duopoly is believed to be detrimental compared to a competitive market. The regulatory system appears ineffective when assessing the investment made by the service providers,” he stated, urging a thorough examination of the licensing process.

Chairman Bhandari drew attention to the potential impact of recent frequency unavailability on innovative technology applications. He highlighted that the government allocated 60 MHz frequency to Nepal Telecom for 5G testing, acknowledging the significant implications when frequencies are not made available on time for the development and deployment of new technologies.

In the context of 5G testing, Chairman Bhandari noted the disparity between the allocation of 2600 MHz for Nepal Telecom and the alleged lack of opportunity for Ncell. He stressed the importance of proper regulations, emphasizing that problems could arise if regulatory authorities do not pay adequate attention to the effective management of the available spectrum.

Expressing concerns over challenges faced by the telecom sector, Chairman Bhandari pointed out the lack of access to 25% of income from the internet.

He highlighted the significant fivefold growth in revenue over the past six years, underscoring the need for scientific methods to make frequencies available. This, he asserted, is essential for maintaining the foundation for digital development in the country.

Chairman Bhandari concluded by emphasizing the urgency for a long-term strategic plan for the development of telecommunications in Nepal. He recognized the complexity of the challenges and stressed the importance of collaboration with the government to address them effectively.

The Chairman’s remarks signal a proactive approach to navigate the evolving landscape of the telecommunications sector, ensuring its resilience and contribution to the broader development goals of the country.

Fiscal Nepal |
Monday March 4, 2024, 12:37:50 PM |

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