Mobile Mania

With taxes slashed and handsets smuggled in, Sri Lanka is becoming a mobile phone paradise where even the islands prisons are awash with cell phones.
With the price of handsets falling by about 35 percent this year, owning a mobile has never been so affordable in Sri Lanka, where vegetable vendors, taxi drivers and pavement hawkers all carry a cell phone.rn

rn The proliferation of mobile phones was such that Commissioner General of Prisons Rumy Marzook, just before retiring last month, asked the government to buy equipment to jam cell phones creeping into jails.rn

“Every month 75,000 to 100,000 subscribers are added in to the mobile networks,” said a manager at Sri Lankas first cellular operator, Celltel, which competes with three other networks.rn

The Indian Ocean republic was the first South Asian nation to introduce cell phones in 1989 and today mobiles outnumber fixed-line phones by more than two-to-one.rn

In March, Sri Lanka became the first country in the region to introduce 3G