Frequency arrears dispute: Tata halts Ncell’s internet bandwidth « Khabarhub
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Frequency arrears dispute: Tata halts Ncell’s internet bandwidth

03 July 2024  

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KATHMANDU: Indian bandwidth supplier Tata has suspended its bandwidth supply to Ncell.

This action was taken because Ncell has failed to pay long-overdue fees to the company.

Ncell has over a billion rupees in unpaid frequency usage fees, leading the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) to deny Ncell the facility for foreign currency exchange.

As a result, Ncell has been unable to pay the Indian company supplying the bandwidth, creating supply issues, Ncell officials told Khabarhub.

“We informed the Nepal Telecommunications Authority about this problem last week,” said an official. “Since June 17, Tata has stopped providing bandwidth via India.”

Gajendra Kumar Thakur, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, stated that Ncell has not paid the arrears for frequency usage, leading the Authority to withhold the recommendation for currency exchange to the ministry.

He added that if Ncell pays the outstanding fees, there would be no issue in providing the currency exchange facility.

Ncell is currently involved in several legal disputes in various courts. However, according to Ncell officials, the current issue regarding frequency arrears is not linked to any court cases.

Ncell failed to pay the amount determined through an auction process for the frequency it secured. As a result, the Authority has stopped the currency exchange.

On December 18, 2019, the Authority first auctioned the 1800 MHz frequency.

On April 18, 2021, Ncell agreed to purchase 5 MHz of frequency at auction price through negotiations.

The arrears from the usage of this frequency have now exceeded one billion rupees.

Ncell officials stated that the company is currently using other bandwidth sources to provide internet services to its customers.

However, if the currency exchange issue remains unresolved, the company may face further difficulties in its internet services as the costs for bandwidth from other suppliers continue to rise.

“At present, our services are not directly affected because we have made alternative arrangements,” an official said. “But the costs for other bandwidth sources are increasing because NTA has blocked the foreign currency exchange facility for the past six months.”

Ncell is involved in various legal disputes with the state, with cases pending in different courts.

According to a summary report by a committee led by former Auditor General Tanka Mani Sharma, “Ncell Axiata owes over 85 billion rupees in taxes and non-taxes to the Nepal government, with several cases pending at various levels of offices and courts.”

Additionally, Ncell was supposed to pay 20 billion rupees for its 20-year renewal by May 28, but only paid 4 billion rupees.

As a result, the company has incurred over 300 billion rupees in penalties. If the renewal fees, including penalties, are not paid by August 31, Ncell’s mobile service license could be revoked.

Publish Date : 03 July 2024 21:23 PM

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