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GSR 2012

ITU regulatory snapshot: Sri Lanka

  • The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) was created in 1996 under the Sri Lanka Telecommunications (Amendment) Act. The Commission consists of five members.

  • Sri Lanka has recorded positive growth in key ICT areas during recent years. During this period, the country’s technology literacy rate has grown steadily, further stimulating development. This upward trend is a clear indicator of the success of the plans and strategies adopted by the government of Sri Lanka, as part of its vision of making Sri Lanka one of Asia’s ‘digital star performers’. The government aims to make Sri Lanka a Knowledge Hub in the Asian region, the foundation of which is ICT and broadband connectivity.

  • The government has prepared a draft National Broadband Policy that aims to overcome obstacles and stimulate broadband development. The main focus is to develop Sri Lanka’s telecommunication infrastructure facilities to support the delivery of high-speed broadband services. The policy provides guidance to a range of stakeholders including government, industry operators and broadband users.

  • The government has successfully implemented a number of programmes and is also in the process of finalizing policies on broadband and Next-Generation Networks to enhance broadband development and further share the benefits with all citizens, including marginalized, disabled and disadvantaged groups.

Market overview

  • Sri Lanka has kept pace with the developed world in terms of embracing new and evolving technologies such as 3G, 3.5G HSPA, HSPA+ and now trial LTE networks.

  • The fixed-line telephone service market was liberalized in 1996 with the issuing of licences to two Wireless Local Loop (WLL) operators.

  • Broadband was introduced by the incumbent operator Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) in 2003.

  • TRCSL facilitated the introduction of 3G mobile services in 2006, making Sri Lanka the first country in South Asia to offer 3G services.

  • In 2007, High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 3.5G systems were deployed on top of existing 3G networks, so that Sri Lanka was also the first country in South Asia to offer 3.5G services.

  • Sri Lanka’s mobile broadband (3G) market comprises five operators:

    • Dialog - around 40% market share

    • Sri Lanka Telecom (Mobitel) - around 21% market share

    • Etisalat - around 20% market share

    • Bharti Airtel + Hutchison – have remaining 19% market share between them

  • Sri Lanka’s broadband customers can access packages at speeds of up to 16 Mbps. Wireline technologies based on ADSL broadband provide maximum speeds, while wireless mobile broadband services such as 3G HSPA offer speeds up to 7.2 Mbps.

  • Strong competition among mobile broadband operators has pushed the price of mobile broadband down to a very low level. Conversely, fixed broadband tariffs remained relatively unchanged for a long period until 2010, owing to lack of market competition.

  • Early allocation of 3G spectrum and the availability of low-cost access devices, competitive rates and wide geographical coverage are some of the reasons for the relative success of mobile broadband services in Sri Lanka.

  • The increased affordability of devices and broadband services combined with the rapid growth in smartphones is expected to drive Sri Lankan Internet penetration significantly higher in the next few years.

Joint ITU-TRCSL activities

  • ITU and TRCSL have undertaken partnership initiatives including:

    • In 2008, 2009 & 2012: the ‘eNABLE’ project providing ICT facilities and ICT training for the empowerment and development of disabled and marginalized groups in Sri Lanka. The project has been showcased at several international forums.

    • In 2011 & 2012: the ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ initiative, which provides ICT tools such as computers, printers and Internet connectivity to schools in Sri Lanka. This project aims to transform these schools into connected community ICT centres. The project is ongoing.

    • 2011: the publication of Roadmap for Migration from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Broadcasting in Sri Lanka

    • 2011: the publication of Migration Best Practices for Implementing NGN in the Asia and Pacific Region: Case Study India, Philippines and Sri Lanka

    • 2012: publication of a special Case Study on Broadband in Sri Lanka for presentation at the 6th meeting of the Broadband Commission in New York on September 23 and for GSR 2012.



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Updated: 2018-06-23