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Sri Lanka Telecom’s mobile subsidiary is vying to double its subscriber base by end 2006, launching a new low tariff prepaid package this week.

Mobitel Lanka Private Limited on Monday launched a new prepaid service, which along with its new GSM network, is expected to double its 45,000 customer base by year end.

Mobitel chief Suren Amarasekera said the new prepaid service will ignore traditional cellular service pricing, opting for a model that charges a flat fee for calls made at any time of the day, to any network.

Sri Lankan telecom network operators have preferred a tri-band time table, with higher tariffs at peak hours (generally between eight in the morning and six in the evening).

Amarasekera said market research shows that cellular subscribers were confused by the œmultitude of complicated mobile calling plans available.

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Network expansion plans for the year are expected to cover 80 percent of populated areas by September 2006, Amarasekera said.

Mobitel has a limited presence in the island’s war ravaged North and East districts, but expansion there has been shelved until pea