Mobile Auction

Dec 27, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan fisherman are using mobile phones to ‘auction’ their catch before reaching shore, allowing them to get better prices, backed by better bargaining power, an official said. Once the fishermen land their catch, it has to be sold quickly before the fish starts to spoil.

“As soon as they get closer to coverage he [fisherman] calls all the mudalalis [traders] and has done the auction,” Nushad Perera, Dialog Telekom’s chief marketing officer said.

“By the time he approaches the beach, he has sold his catch.”

Perera was addressing top marketers in the island at the LBR-LBO Chief Marketing Officers forum. Dialog is Sri Lanka’s largest celco with an estimated 60 percent of market share.

The mobile coverage gives the fishermen enough time to sell off their catch at better prices rather than fall prey to the cartel auctions on the beach, he said.

Since most fishermen use mobile phones, Dialog has tilted 30 of the coastal base stations towards the sea for fishermen to have coverage offshore.

Some Sri Lankan fish cartels had even sabotaged Dialog Telekom base stations along the island’s coastline to force fishermen to auction their catch at lower prices