Telecom regulator revokes licence of the Sumargi-owned Nepal SatelliteThe telecom service provider, owned by controversial businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi, owed the state Rs 800 million and had failed to pay.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority on Monday revoked the licence of Nepal Satellite, a telecom service provider owned by controversial businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi, after the company failed to clear outstanding dues amounting to around Rs 800 million.
“The company failed to pay the amount we sought in the given time frame, which led to the cancellation of its service licence,” said Puroshottam Khanal, chairman of the Nepal Telecommunications Authority. “Nepal Satellite can file a complaint against the decision within 35 days.”
Nepal Satellite, which operates under the brand Hello Nepal, was asked by the regulator to deposit the Rs 800 million accrued as frequency charges, licence fees and for the Rural Telecommunications Development Fund, among others, by the end of the last fiscal year.
On July 22, the regulator had sought a clarification from Nepal Satellite asking why its licence should not be canceled, to which the telecom company responded with a bargain that it would clear the dues if it was allowed to expand its services in Kathmandu.
A board meeting of the authority on August 3, however, directed the company to pay Rs 70 million within 15 days and post the remaining amount within three months. But Nepal Satellite failed to deposit the Rs 70 million by August 18.
Nepal Satellite was licenced to operate as a telecom service provider in rural areas of three development regions in February 2018.
According to the authority, nine telecom service providers have yet to clear Rs 4.31 billion accrued as frequency charges, royalties, and rural telecommunication development funds. In February, the Public Accounts Committee had directed the telecom regulator to recoup the amount and revoke the licences of all operators that failed to pay their dues within a month. After telecom operators said that they wouldn’t be able to pay the sum within a month, the regulator had extended the deadline till mid-July.
Nepal Satellite’s stay order on payment of dues was revoked by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana on July 18, allowing the regulator to seek its dues.
Another telecom operator, Smart Telecom which was on the verge of cancellation but it managed to deposit Rs 300 million out of total dues of over Rs 2.5 billion.
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