7 March 2021, Kathmandu
The Government has prepared new regulations to make telecommunications services cheaper by minimizing the double infrastructure and investment seen in the telecommunications sector.
The Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has recently drafted the ‘Telecommunications Infrastructure Cooperation Regulation and Tariff Charges-2077.’
The soon-to-be-released proposal is expected to eliminate current telecommunications service charges and help reduce prices.
The proposal stipulates that the infrastructure must be used, but only the infrastructure prescribed by the Telecommunications Authority can be used.
Regulations stipulate that, in order to use telecommunications infrastructure, service providers must first come and use their infrastructure on a first-come, first-served basis without discrimination.
Similarly, provision has been made that the infrastructure provided by the infrastructure co-users should be used within six months and that, if not completed within six months, the infrastructure provider can unilaterally terminate the agreement.
Similarly, a company that owns infrastructure has been legally prohibited from seeking or delaying requests from other service providers.
In addition, the regulations require service providers to build infrastructure that can be shared.
As soon as this Regulation comes into effect, service providers are expected to construct telecommunications towers and infrastructures in such a way that at least three service providers can co-use them. In the case of co-use between 3 companies due to some technological or commercial reasons, smaller companies may also be involved.
However, if the service provider has already built the cooperation infrastructure in one place, there is a provision that other companies cannot develop the same infrastructure in the same place.
Even if there is a shared-use infrastructure, providers of infrastructure services can refuse to use it on the basis of technical or facilities and capacity. However, this denial must be reported in writing to another company with reasons.
Regulations also established that the facilities used for co-use cannot be provided for co-use by any other company.
In addition, the Telecommunications Authority may undertake work on the construction of infrastructure for co-use at a special location. The committee set up for the joint use of infrastructure in such special places may, therefore, formulate and issue separate criteria.
The regulations also provide for not only concluding a co-use agreement but also revoking it, stating that the co-use agreement can be revoked after six months of prior notice.
Service providers wishing to cooperate must publish full details on such infrastructure on the company’s websites within 3 months of the implementation of the Regulations.
NTA Director and Spokesperson Min Prasad Aryal said that the regulations would guide them to make full use of existing infrastructures.
‘The regulations will be used to maximize the use of infrastructure, lower costs and increase competition, which will help to enhance efficiency and reduce telecommunications service charges.’ said Aryal.
Currently, the draft has been made available to the telecommunication service providers for suggestions and it is planned to revise the draft and issue it immediately based on the suggestions sent by them.