The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) reversed a decision allowing Ncell to roll out 4G service after receiving a directive from a parliamentary committee barring the operator from moving ahead with a launch.
Ncell was awarded with a licence in early May, clearing it to deploy services from 1 June. The NTA issued the licence despite the Public Accounts Committee advising it not to do so until the operator paid all taxes related to an acquisition of Telia’s (then TeliaSonera) stake in Ncell by Axiata Group, which was finalised in April 2016.
The Kathmandu Post reported NTA chairman Digambar Jha as saying: “I can assure that the NTA will abide by the directive issued by the house committee.”
Nepal’s government requested 25 per cent of the profit from the sale of Ncell be deposited as capital gains tax. Ncell deposited 15 per cent – some NPR9.97 billion ($95 million). The tax office is assessing the issue and is likely to come up with a decision soon, The Kathmandu Post said.
Ncell is the second largest operator in Nepal with a 46 per cent market share.
State-owned Nepal Telecom in October 2016 was the first mobile player to receive approval from the regulator to deploy a 4G network on the 1.8GHz band. In late May Smart Telecom, the country’s third largest operator, was cleared to launch LTE service on its existing 1.8GHz network from 30 July.