Since the mobile phones imported through the grey channel evade taxes and are available for relatively cheaper prices (than the products through the authorized channels), people are often attracted with the grey devices (due to their pricing). And such import of mobile phones through the grey channel has been a pain in the neck for the government. It’s not just causing an unregulated trade deficit, the government has also been unable to collect taxes from those devices. And because of the grey channel, the sale through the authorized channel is diminishing, which is a huge loss for the authorized distributors of Nepal. Since this had caused a huge tension, Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) had announced to shut down all the grey mobile phones in Nepal last year promising to make the IMEI registration mandatory. But looking at the recent progress, the process may take a while. And addressing the time that would take for all the procedures involved, the process may not come live even within the end of this fiscal year.
For the mobile devices’ registration process, NTA requires an advanced Mobile Device Management System (MDMS). Although the government has been fiercely against the grey market and wildly dedicated to developing such a system, the progress seems stagnant due to the appraisal procedure. NTA informed that the Technical Appraisal has been completed and the Authority is planning to start the procedures for the financial assessment.
After all the procedures, a company will be selected will be given responsibility to proceed. According to NTA, there were six companies interested to design and develop the system. However, only four of them presented their interests with the technical and financial proposal. Among which, only two of them fulfilled NTA’s criteria. And it’s said that F1 Soft, one of the renowned software company of Nepal has also been out in this procedure failing to fulfill the criteria. So as of now, only two companies are in the race to develop the system.
When will the Mobile Device Management System (MDMS) come to live?
Although the technical appraisal has completed, the financial appraisal can take some time. Even after the financial assessment, NTA will sit on a board meeting to make the final decision. So the completion of all these procedures will take a while.
The company selected for this project will receive a letter of intent from NTA and under the conditions mentioned by the NTA, the selected company have to register their company in Nepal (if it’s a foreign company). After that, the company will have to start the design, develop, install and operate the hardware and software system required for the project.
An NTA employee informed that the selected company will take a minimum of three to five months of time to complete the project. So even if all these things go as planned, the system will take over six months to come into fruition. So the MBMS is supposed to be delayed for the next fiscal year.