Nepali operator Smart Telecom has missed the mid-January deadline for paying its outstanding dues of NPR5.5 billion (US$45.8 million), leaving the Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) with little choice but to revoke its licence.
Local outlet Khabarhub reports that Smart Telecom has made no indication that it intends to pay its arrears, which relate to renewal fees and other liabilities. In response, NTA Chairman Purushottam Khanal stated that the regulator would be forced to carry out its threat to strip Smart of its operating permit.
Smart was initially threatened with the cancellation of its licence in August 2019, but Nepal’s government sidelined the NTA’s move by allowing the operator to pay its dues in instalments over the course of a year. The deadline for payment has since slipped to July 2021, then January 2022.
CommsUpdate notes that Smart has around 2.36 million connections, making it Nepal’s third largest mobile player with a 5.9% share of the market.