Ncell Bandwidth Crisis: Tata Communications Suspends Supply Amid Payment Dispute

Ncell Bandwidth Crisis
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3rd July 2024, Kathmandu

“Nepal’s Ncell faces a bandwidth crisis as Tata Communications halts supply due to payment defaults. The Nepal Telecommunication Authority’s refusal to recommend foreign currency exacerbates the situation.”

Ncell Bandwidth Crisis

Ncell, one of Nepal’s leading telecommunications providers, is facing significant operational challenges after the government refused to recommend foreign currency payments, resulting in reduced bandwidth.

The issue arose when India’s Tata Communications International stopped supplying bandwidth to Ncell on June 3rd due to unpaid dues. Ncell’s inability to make payments stems from the Nepal Telecommunications Authority’s (NTA) refusal to approve and recommend foreign exchange transactions necessary for these payments.

Ncell has communicated this issue to the authority through a formal letter, urgently requesting the necessary approvals to resume payments and avoid further service disruptions. The company has stated that the lack of foreign currency approvals over the past six months has hindered their ability to pay for service expansion, improvements, bandwidth, and foreign consultants.

With Tata Communications ceasing bandwidth supply, Ncell’s services are at risk of severe interruption. Tata has issued legal notices to Ncell, threatening further legal action if the dues are not settled promptly.

Ncell sources bandwidth from suppliers in India and China, making timely government recommendations crucial to maintaining uninterrupted service. The company warns that continued delays in foreign currency approval could lead to more extensive service disruptions and a potential crisis.

The issue highlights ongoing disputes between telecommunication service providers and the government, leading to periodic internet service interruptions in Nepal. Stakeholders have criticized the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the government for not taking proactive measures to address such critical issues.

Santosh Paudel, spokesperson for the NTA, confirmed that the recommendation for Ncell’s foreign currency payments has been halted. Ncell alleges discriminatory practices in license renewal and foreign currency payment approvals, citing that Nepal Telecom received approvals despite having outstanding dues.

Ncell’s request for installment-based license renewal payments has also gone unanswered, exacerbating the company’s financial challenges. The telecom provider insists on equal treatment to ensure the continuity and quality of its services.

Ncell Bandwidth Crisis

The situation calls for immediate government intervention to facilitate foreign currency payments and prevent further disruptions in Nepal’s telecommunications services.


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