The MDMS project (Mobile device Management System) is years old in the making. However, the government has stepped up its efforts since last year but still, the security software system continues to suffer delays. The security system once implemented will be the central platform to regulate mobile phones in Nepal that will help curb the spread of grey phones and, also help the government collect more revenue from phone imports.
NTA’s long-awaited security software MDMS project has suffered embarrassing slow progress due to the equipment vendor’s delay. The regulator has agreed on a partnership with an international supplier for the security system. But due to its delay in procurement, the plan of curbing the grey phone market has stalled, the 59th annual report from the Office of Attorney General (OAG) states.
NTA has selected two consulting firms as Nuemera (M) Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia, OSI Consulting Pvt. Ltd., India, and Namaste Global Communication Pte. Ltd., Singapore (JV) as MDMS Service Provider (MDMSSP). The firms are responsible for the design, supply, installation, commissioning, and operation. As per the stipulation, the firms were to complete the installation within 6 months with 5 years of support. NTA had reached an agreement in 2076 03-19. For this, NTA is investing 88 crores, 33 lakh, and 61 thousand Nepali rupees.
The same report also reveals that NTA has paid the firm 3 crores, 68 lakh, and 64 thousand for secondary data center hardware, and installation. But the project shows no assurance of kick-off.
MDMS deadline was 2078-11 but the slow progress still not waning
The last deadline for the completion of the MDMS project was 2078-11-3. The consultant firm was responsible for supplying equipment for the primary site container but it failed again. The OAG report tells that as a result, NTA has frozen the bank account of the consultant JV.
The office suggests Nta should seek compensation and get the project completed soon.
As per the agreement’s Article 45.1, the concerned firm is stipulated to pay 0.05% per day of the total agreed investment on the project. The long MDMS delay means mobile distributors and government revenues continue to take a hit in the absence of a grey phone regulator.
The free rural broadband project draws mixed report
Likewise, the report also offers insight into the rural broadband project of NTA. The regulator has initiated a program that sets up 20 Mbps broadband connection in local bodes, community schools, and colleges.
The project consists of 18 packages worth NPR 5 billion, 26 crores, and 98 lakh in total. The report says 64.30% of the project has been completed so far. The regulator has spent NPR. 3 billion, 38 crores, and 87 lakh. Out of the total 18, projects have been completed in 60 districts of 15 packages. In the meantime, in 2 packages, 50% of work has been complete in 9 districts.
The regulator is utilizing Rural Telecommunications Development Funds for the project. The earthquake-ravaged districts were the initial focal point for the free broadband project.
The broadband internet is free for 2 years but can be continued with payment later
As part of the project, the service provider must provide free internet service for 2 years. However, the local bodies and institutions can continue receiving the service beyond the period. NTA has recently also called upon the local bodies to keep the internet equipment safe for future utility.
The office also shares that the inspection at 747 sites revealed that the connection was not established in places where service providers completed hardware installation. Likewise, the office recommends NTA should take action against service providers as per the established act and agreement.
What is your take on the long MDMS delay? If you are carrying an unregistered phone, it is at least giving a bonus time for registering your device at NTA. Meanwhile, you can check our post on the comprehensive details of MDMS in Nepal. You can comment below to learn more.