VSNL Lanka links HSBC’s Colombo call centre with a 45 megabits per second data line

Telco operator India’s VSNL, connected HSBC’s Sri Lankan call centre with a 45 mega bits per second data line last week, in a deal worth US$ 30,000 per month.

Telco operator India’s VSNL, connected HSBC’s Sri Lankan call centre with a 45 mega bits per second data line last week, in a deal worth US$ 30,000 per month.

The deal, makes it one of the biggest data operation connections so far in Sri Lanka, and will enable 3,000 HSBC staff to communicate with their Mumbai office, VSNL Lanka Ltd.’s Chief Operating Officer Ravi Shankar said Friday.

“Call centres like Virtusa usually use about three mega bits per second. HSBC started off with 3 Mbps for a 300 seater (employees) and has gradually moved up to 45 Mbps,” Shankar said.

The global banking giant’s US$ 30 mn call centre is currently located at Colombo’s World Trade Center twin towers, while its new home is being built.

Videsh Sanchara Nigam Ltd (VSNL), a unit of India’s giant Tata Group, routes part of its international bandwidth through the SEA-ME-WE III (which connects South East Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe) submarine cable operated by Sri Lanka Telecom.

Direct access to the SEA-ME-WE cable, cuts bandwidth costs, giving operators a reliable and cheaper connection, as against expensive satellite links.

VSNL became the first to effectively break SLT’s grip on access to the undersea cables last February. Since then, few other private telecom operators are also offering similar services to a small, but growing number of call centres operating from Sri Lanka.

Shankar says business is booming. Since setting up operations last February, VSNL has attracted top clients including Citibank, FEDEX and Estron.

Expanding its operations, VSNL launched Sri Lanka’s first roaming pre-paid international calling card, offering discount prices on voice traffic.

Cards are priced from Rs. 250 (US$ 2.50) to Rs. 2,000 (US$ 20), with average call rate fixed at Rs. 25 (US$ 0.25) per minute for 28 designated countries. The Tata Indicom Global Calling card was first launched in India last February.

Sri Lanka Telecom also offers a somewhat limited card called ‘SLT passport’. Under this card, customers can call overseas from Sri Lanka.