NTA directs Smart Telecom to transfer all its assets

Published On: May 3, 2023 03:00 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 3: The Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has instructed Smart Telecom Pvt Ltd to hand over all the property it owns.

The NTA issued the directive announcing that Smart Telecom's license has been automatically revoked as per the Telecommunications Act after not submitting an application for license renewal with fee.

The authority issued a notice on Wednesday and instructed Smart Telecom to hand over the telecommunication infrastructure, telecommunication system and telecommunication network to the authority in accordance with Sub-rule (1) of Rule 9 of 2079 BS for the asset management of telecommunication service providers whose license is not valid.

Smart Telecom will have to pay a total of 20.13 billion rupees as renewal fees alone. However, after paying only 750 million rupees, the company did not apply for the renewal till April 16. Even the efforts of the investors of the company to create an environment to pay later by political lobbying were not successful.

On August 30, 2019, the NTA decided to cancel the license of Smart Telecom for not paying the revenue along with the renewal fee on time. However, the Council of Ministers meeting on January 6, 2020, revoked the decision of the NTA by giving the facility to pay the arrears in five installments. The government had given the facility to pay the first installment of the remaining arrears by mid-July 2020 and to pay the remaining four installments by mid-July of each financial year.

Now Smart Telecom will be operated by the management group led by Gokarna Sitaula, the director of NTA. The committee will work like the board of directors of the company.

After the situation of cancellation of Smart Telecom had arrived, the government issued the property management regulations of telecommunication service providers keeping the obstacles in mind. According to this, after the cancellation of the license, the entire property of Smart Telecom and the telecommunication infrastructure, structure, and system have come under the control of the Telecommunication Management Group. Now the government will establish a pricing committee and fix the minimum price of such properties.

Such property can be sold through auction. In cases where the liabilities are more than the assets, there is a provision to maintain the minimum bid points for the total liabilities. The company conducting the auction will get a new permit. The assets of the liquidated company will be transferred to the existing services and customers.

There is a provision to give a license to those who are ready to bear the debts and liabilities of the company, which will be terminated if the auction is not held. If these efforts fail, the license will be revoked and the frequency will automatically come under the authority's ownership.


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