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Nepal's NCell Plans $100 Million in Network Upgrades

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The Nepalese mobile network, NCell has outlined plans to invest USD100 million in its network upgrades this year, if regulatory problems are resolved.

The company, majority owned by TeliaSonera has recently appointed a new CEO for the Nepal subsidiary, Erim Taylanlar who outlined the investment plans.

TeliaSonera is the majority shareholder with 60.4% of the shares, and has a right to increase its ownership in Ncell to 72.9 percent in the future if certain conditions are met.

In an interview with My Republica, the new CEO however warned that regulaotory issues are holding up the deployment of more advanced technologies. He particuarly cited the delays in appointing a replacement chairman for the NTA as a key issue.

He said that the firm wants to expand its 3G network, especially into rural areas, but that needs regulatory approval, which is currently not possible.

He also cited the difficulties imposed by the Central Bank in repatriating its profits to the parent company, and said that the firm is open minded about possible regulations requiring a local stock market listing.

TeliaSonera recently walked away from a deal to buy Nepal Satellite a regional operator in Nepal after it said that uncertainty regarding the regulatory and legal environment for consolidation and granting of licenses in Nepal has increased.

It wrote off USD61 million on that deal.

On the web: My Republica

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Tags: ncell  teliasonera  Nepal