Feb 5, 2018-The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority has initiated probe into a complaint of irregularities in the tender process that Nepal Telecom has announced to expand its 4G service.
The NT, which has installed the 4G network in Kathmandu and Pokhara, has plans to take the service across the country. The state-owned telecom operator has called three separate tenders to implement the scheme—first two on November 8 for installing infrastructure such as BTS towers and another on November 3 last year to install the core network to facilitate 4G transmission.
There are two packages for network installation—first for the central region and the second for the eastern, western and far-western regions. The third tender is for installing the core network.
The NT is evaluating bids from China’s ZTE and the China Comservice International for the first and second packages while the ZTE and a Singapore-based company are vying for core network installation, according to the company.
The NT has yet to formally award any contract based on the bids while the complaint registered on January 21 is about efforts to select the China Comservice even if it has quoted prices higher than normal.
“Usually the quoted amount remains 40-50 percent below the estimated cost but the amount quoted by China Comservice is 25 percent lower that the estimates,” the complaint reads.
The complainant also claims that the NT should not the install a 4G network while the world has moved towards 5G, arguing that the telecom service provider was wasting resources by going for 4G. The complaint calls for a technical investigation in consultation with foreign experts.
“We have started an initial investigation after the complaint was registered,” said CIAA Spokesperson Padam Prasad Pandey. “We’ll decide whether to go for a detailed probe after studying the seriousness of the complaint.”
NT Spokesperson Pratibha Vaidya said she was unaware of the complaint. But an NT official suspected that the complaint might have been registered to stop the NT from expanding its 4G service and to benefit its rivals.
“Usually, complaints are registered with the anti-graft body whenever we seek to introduce new technology,” the official remarked.
Published: 05-02-2018 08:25