BlackBerry enters NepalAugust 18th, 2010 - 6:40 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Aug 18 (IANS) Even as neighbour India laid down an Aug 31 deadline for BlackBerry to provide law agencies access to its encrypted data or face the closure of its secure email service, the smartphone wiz has entered Nepal via a tie-up with the first private mobile telephone service provider.
Spice Nepal Private Ltd, Nepal’s first private mobile phone operator offering its services under the brand Ncell, has now added BlackBerry services to its menu following a no-objection certificate from the regulating authority, the Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA).
Keeping in mind the security concerns in India, the NTA said it has issued the no-objection certificate conditionally.
“If the government of Nepal wants to monitor or intercept calls or other services, Ncell has to make the provisions,” NTA official Kabindra Shrestha told IANS.
Also, Spice Nepal will not enjoy exclusivity, Shrestha said.
If the other mobile phone operator in the country, the state-run Nepal Telephone, wants to offer BlackBerry services in future, it too will have the right to do so.
Also, Spice Nepal will have to provide BlackBerry services even to people who have bought the phone sets from other places.
A BlackBerry handset will cost about NRS 50,000 and the monthly charge is NRS 1,000.
A customer who has bought his BlackBerry phone set from elsewhere will also be entitled to Ncell’s BlackBerry services.
Spice Nepal entered Nepal controversially with the launch of its services in 2005 when Nepal’s then king Gyanendra staged a bloodless coup and shut down telephone services.
In 2008, Spice Nepal acquired a boost with Nordic telecom giant TeliaSonera, obtaining controlling interests and the old brand, Mero Mobile, was repositioned as Ncell.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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