Hullo, Hullo

After decades of waiting, telephones have finally begun ringing in villages and rural areas across Sri Lanka. After decades of waiting, telephones have finally begun ringing in villages and rural areas across Sri Lanka. Not mobiles, nor standard landlines, but a clever combination of the two that is quickly making telephony accessible to all.

“We have not been able to get a land line all our life even though I was the village headman,” said H. P. Gunaratne, the now retired top official in the southern village of Hiyare.

“I needed the phone because two of my three children are in university and I had no way of keeping in touch with them. Now they can call me regularly and we know what the children are doing.”

But it’s not only rural consumers who are benefiting from the new telecoms regime — the arrival of the wireless technology known as CDMA (code division multiple access) sparked a mini-stampede in the capital Colombo for the new product.

CDMA is commonly used by operators in Asia and elsewhere for faster mobile phone connections but in Sri Lanka it is being used to provide fixed-line a