Budget Talk

Mobile operator Celltel Lanka, is offering per second billing to its pre-paid card segments, as it finds creative ways to remain competitive. Mobile operator Celltel Lanka, is offering per second billing to its pre-paid card segments, as it finds creative ways to remain competitive. Sri Lanka has over 2.2 million mobile subscribers, serviced by four mobile operators. But pre-paid card users account over 75 percent of the customer base.

Popular among the less affluent and rural Sri Lankans, a pre-paid connection usually comes with little or no monthly rentals, a ceiling on free text messages, minimum monthly usage limits and facilities to top up credit on the move.

With a subscriber base of around 800,000, pre-paid cards currently account for over 90 percent of Celltel’s customer base.

CellCARD (Celltel’s pre-paid brand) pioneered the pre-paid card market, but lost out to Dialog KIT in 1999.

“We are not too worried about being No: 2 in the market. The cost to dislodge the market leader is too large…we want to give adequate returns to our shareholders and have sufficient cash to expand our business,” Celltel’s Commercial Dir