The Starlink Internet service, which is owned by Elon Musk, has been hindered by Nepal’s laws. The country’s legal system prevents foreign investors from owning more than 80 percent of a company.
According to Purushottam Khanal, the head of Nepal’s telecommunications authority, Starlink’s management team recently held a dialogue with him about the company’s operations in the country.
During the discussion, the company’s management team asked if there is an environment that’s favorable for foreign investment in Nepal. According to Khanal, they stated that they only needed to acquire a 100% ownership stake in the country to start operations.
Besides foreign investors, Khanal also noted that local businessmen should also be involved in the company’s board. As a matter of fact, they should be able to provide their consent when it comes to the launch or modification of any of the company’s satellites.
In most countries, except for Nepal, 100% foreign ownership is allowed. Starlink, on the other hand, has a policy of not entering any market without first securing a 100% foreign investment.
Despite the company’s policy, Khanal noted that the telecommunications authority was still in favor of allowing Starlink to operate in the country. He said the company’s internet service could help improve the country’s geographical complexity.
Khanal stated that if the company wants to operate in Nepal, he would like to see Starlink come and join the country’s telecommunications industry. He also suggested that the company should present a written proposal to the government, which clearly states the legal requirements of Nepal.
The authority, however, noted that Starlink’s investment structure was not an issue when it comes to operating its internet service in Nepal. The company can still provide internet services by acquiring a license from the country’s internet service providers.
In response, Khanal said the company doesn’t have to establish an office in Nepal. He explained that the conditions of its permit require that a contact person should be present in the country. However, he noted that Starlink was still ready to establish a branch office in the country.
What about Frequency?
Khanal noted that the discussion about the company’s frequency was not thorough. He said that the government could provide the company with the necessary frequencies for its operations.
For its existing VSAT service, Khanal noted that the company doesn’t need to acquire additional frequencies. Instead, it uses an arrangement where the users pay a fixed amount for the service.
Price of Starlink in Nepal
Currently, Starlink’s internet service is more expensive than that of local providers. For instance, the company’s fixed 50Mbps internet service is priced at US$ 110 a month.
This type of internet is ideal for rural areas, as it can reach those that don’t have access to a local network.
Starlink is a telecommunications company that’s looking to establish a base station in Nepal to provide fixed broadband and mobile services.
The authority suggested that the government and Starlink should work together to ensure that the company’s satellite connectivity is approved. If the government and the company fail to reach an agreement, the internet service provided by Starlink might be disrupted.