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Cellular operator Celltel will bring forward its 2006 network expansion plans, increasing its coverage map to cover 52 percent of the island’s population. Cellular operator Celltel will bring forward its 2006 network expansion plans, increasing its coverage map to cover 52 percent of the island’s population. Celltel’s sixth phase of expansion will take its network capacity to over one million lines.

Celltel’s chief Duminda Ratnayaka says customer growth since it began its current phase of network expansion has been above expected levels warranting the accelerated rollout.

The pioneer’s active customer base now adds up to over 500,000 customers, making it the second largest cellular operator in terms of active customers after Dialog GSM with over 1.2 million subscribers.

A US$ 20 mn syndicated loan structured in 2004 for network roll out in 2005 and internally generated cash will pay for the accelerated growth plans.

Millicom International Cellular SA President and Chief Executive Marc Beuls said the global cellular operator’s Sri Lankan subsidiary had begun to post bottom line profits since its restructuring began four years ago and