Broad Spectrum

May 25, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s broadband use is lagging the region due to low penetration of personal computers and expensive mobile handsets, though the sector has now started to grow especially in the wireline segment, a sector study said. Sri Lanka had 574,000 broadband customers by end December 2010, including 294,000 mobile broadband users.

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the country’s only wireline operator has been pushing ADSL (assymetrical digital subscriber line) aggressively since last year notching up 213,000 customers by end December.

Fitch said it was equal to 24 percent of the firm’s wireline base. Malaysia’s UT group is now the effective managing shareholders, being the second largest shareholder after the state in SLT.

Mobile operators Dialog, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata, Mobitel (a unit of SLT) were giving HSPA broadband. Dialog, SLT, Suntel and Lanka Bell were giving WiMax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) by take-up has been slow, Fitch Ratings said.

“Fitch expects the low broadband penetration to improve over the medium term, along with the expected growth in Sri Lanka’s postwar economy, helped by the rollout of NGN (next generation network) technology by larger operators.”

NGN net