NTA warns handset importers about TAC

he Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has said it will strictly implement the provision of type approval for the import and sales of cell phones. Many brands, including internationally recognised Apple, Sony and HTC, and are being sold freely without certification from the NTA.

On Friday, NTA issued a public notice warning mobile traders to acquire TAC for each models of cell phones or face action. The move is targeted at bringing famous brands under the legal frame and discouraging illegal import and sales of poor quality handsets.

NTA officials said the number of brands and handset models receiving approval has increased in the current fiscal year, but still some big brands including Apple, HTC and Sony were being sold without government permission. As of mid-November last year, around 800 models of over two dozen brands received the certification.
“The market is witnessing illegal import of handsets and unauthorised products are being sold through showrooms due to NTA’s failure to monitor the market,” said an official at NTA. He added an estimated 30-40 percent of the local demand was being met by handsets that enter through grey channel.

Even mobile dealers admit that over 30 percent of demand was met by smuggled handsets from neighbouring countries. Purushottam Basnet, president of Mobile Traders Association of Nepal, said import through t6he legal channel increased to around 2.5 million handsets annually which is around 70 percent of total demand of the domestic market.
“Famous brands like Apple and HTC have a negligible market as they are high-cost low-demand products,” said Basnet. He added although such brands are known for
quality globally, it is NTA’s duty to make them comply with the country’s law through market survey and easing paperwork required for TAC.
Traders have not been able to acquire authorisation (a requirement for receiving TAC) as local dealers from manufacturers like Apple due to the small size of the Nepali market, according to traders. This has resulted in illegal import and sales due to growing demand from a segment of customers who can afford such products.

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