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Govt tampering with rules to give mobile phone licence to CG Telecom

In 2013, CG Telecom (then named STM) had applied for a licence but was disqualified for the lack of sufficient mobile towers.
In 2013, Binod Chaudhary’s CG Telecom (then named STM) had applied for a licence but was disqualified for the lack of sufficient mobile towers.

Kathmandu, February 23

The government is tampering with rules regarding the criteria required to obtain a mobile phone licence to benefit CG Telecom, a company under the Chaudhary Group.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is amending the rules under the influence of Binod Chaudhary, the CG president. Chaudhary is also a central leader of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Nepali Congress party.

According to the current provisions, the companies should have already been providing telecom services after meeting the criteria previously to obtain a licence for the new service. In 2013, CG Telecom (then named STM) had applied for a licence but was disqualified for the lack of sufficient mobile towers.

If the company had increased the number of towers as required, it would have been qualified to obtain the licence without any tampering. However, the company resorted to political lobbying instead of the desirable way to obtain the licence.

Santosh Paudel, the spokesperson of the telecommunications regulator Nepal Telecommunications Authority, says the ministry has asked the authority to share its view about the plan. Paudel says the authority is yet to make a decision.

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Ghimire is a senior business journalist at Onlinekhabar.

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