Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell have participated in the first ever spectrum auction for residual spectrum in Nepal. The regulator NTA had first called for the auction in the residual spectrum on Poush 4, 2075. After a series of stay order and clearance from the supreme court, the first ever spectrum auction went smoothly.
After the new decision from the supreme court, the deadline for the spectrum auction had finished on Thursday. As per the sources, only NTC and Ncell have filed their request for the spectrum.
Among the three bands, it is only Ncell which applied for 900 MHz and 2100 MHz. As the main intention of NTA is to have competition in the spectrum auction, they will most probably extend the deadline for those bands.
There are only 3 MHz remaining in 900 MHz whereas, for 1800 Mhz, there are 16 MHz available. The 2100 MHz has 40 MHz spectrum remaining to be sold.
The requirement for a telco to participate in the auction is to have either a basic telephony service license or unified license. The applicants also should clear all dues including Royalty, RTDF, and spectrum fees. With the above requirements, Smart Telecom and UTL could not participate, as they have some dues to clear to the regulator. In the name of several titles, the two telcos have following dues.
- Smart Telecom has a pending amount of 1 billion and 400 million (Rs 1.4 Arab)
- UTL has a pending amount of 80 crores (800 million rupees)
So, only NTC and Ncell could participate in the auction.
But for 1800 Mhz, both Nepal Telecom and Ncell applied. So, the auction process will begin for the residual frequency in this spectrum band. The residual chunk of 16 MHz has been put into the auction which will be competitively owned by the telcos.
According to the procedure, there will be three levels of bidding. So the telcos can only increase the bid amount by 5 percent each time, as mentioned in the procedure.
Here are the series of event associated with the first ever spectrum auction in Nepal.
- NTA had called for the spectrum auction in residual frequency bands of 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz bands, first on Poush 4, 2075.
- CG Telecom had once filed a petition to Supreme Court as they will be deprived of the allocated frequency spectrum and succeed for a stay order.
- NTA went to SC to vacate the stay order, which comes as per their petition.
- NTA started the auction process with the new deadline.
- SC again stays the auction process due to new petition, on Magh 16.
- SC again scraps the stay order for the auction process.
- Ntc and Ncell take part in the auction.
While the residual spectrum auction process was underway, Government provided 10 Mhz spectrum in 800 MHz bands to Nepal Telecom (NTC). Frequency allocation committee on Magh 29 decided to award 10 MHz of 800 MHz band to Nepal Telecom.
The 800 MHz spectrum is suitable for 4G expansion in hilly and mountainous areas with a lot of remotenesses. As rural areas have less population density and dispersed livelihood, 800 MHz 4G networks would assure the wide coverage in such areas. Earlier Ntc had made deals for their 4G expansion project across the country, on which they will use the 800 MHz band along with 1800 MHz band.