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Nepal Television’s big Dispute over Satellite Purchase – Tender wasn’t opened on August 22

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Recently, the issue of purchasing bandwidth of Nepal Television has been under discussion. After the tender, which was supposed to be opened on August 22 (Bhadra 6), was not opened on that day, many stakeholders have expressed fears and anxieties.

Nepal Television's big Dispute over Satellite Purchase
Nepal Television’s big Dispute over Satellite Purchase

Nepal Television is currently using 25 MHz bandwidth through five channels at the rate of five / five MHz. Although Nepal Television has signed an agreement with Thaicom Company for satellite broadcasting of its five channels, a company called Apstar -7 is currently providing the same service. Thaicom has been serving Nepal Television from Apstar 7 since last year, saying that the space of its satellite “D-orbit” has run out. 

The agreement signed by Nepal Television with Thaicom Company for the same service is coming to an end on September 10, 2021 (Bhadra 25). After this, a global tender was called on July 29 to find the right supplier to purchase the service. In the same process, Asia SAT and China SAT had sent representatives to participate in the tender process at the pre-bid meeting held on July 19 (Shrawan 3), while Intel SAT, Apstar 7, Mia and ABS had expressed their desire to participate through email. 

However, the tender submitted by the supplier was not opened on the scheduled date. As a result, there are a lot of clues coming out. 

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Nepal Television – What happened was that in the previous tender?

In 2012, Thaicom had received a tender of $3,490 per MHz. With which Nepal Television signed an agreement for 10 years. After Nepal Television expanded the Itahari station while Thaicom Satellite was providing service from another company called Apstar 7, Apstar 7 provided an additional 5 MHz frequency free of cost. 

As a result, Nepal Telecom is currently paying  $2,792 per MHz to Apstar 7. At present, the price of a satellite in the international market is between 1,200 and 2,000 dollars per MHz.

“Complaints have been lodged with the Public Accounts Committee, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the National Vigilance Center and the Ministry against the recent tender process and the matter are being investigated.”

said Fulman, who was appointed general manager four months ago. 

He said that the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has been directed to stop the tender process until the investigation process is completed.

He also said that if the satellite service provided by Apstar 7 is shut down on September 10, a new tender or service may have to be procured based on a special provision in the Public Procurement Act.

“There seems to be a lot of controversy over the fact that the agreement with Thaicom, which was signed in 2012, expires on September 25, and the bidding documents have been handed over to the general staff of the television station,” Bal said. “The controversy would not have arisen if the tender documents had been prepared with the help of experts,”

he added

However, an employee of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) told that the source of the controversy was that only one company was fit to prepare the bidding documents. He said, “Before this, a company was providing services for 10 years without a tender. Now, the company is dragging into controversy for fear of losing the service that is being sold at a high price in the tender process.” 

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