PARIS — Nearly two and one-half years after publishing a request for information to prospective bidders, the government of Nepal took the initial — if largely cost-free — step toward a contract with Thales Alenia Space for a telecommunications satellite.

Geostationary-satellite telecommunications orders are rare enough these days to warrant close attention, and questions remain about whether Nepal is willing to finance a satellite on its own.

But after an initial letter of intent signed March 5 in Paris between Nepal’s Ministry of Communications and . . .

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