Warming Up

July 6, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka plans to issue spectrum for third generation or next generation mobile technology to cellular phone operators next week, the telecom watchdog said Thursday. Priced at 5-million dollars, third generation or 3G licenses allow operators to offer higher speed wireless services on the 2GHz (gigahertz band).

“All four existing mobile phone operators have asked for spectrum and we will issue it next week,” Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Director General Kanchana Ratwatte told LBO.

Using 3G technology mobile phone operators can offer high speed internet connections to browse the web, receive emails and even make and receive faster video calls.

“It’s the portability and the flexibility that is attractive for mobile phone users,” Ratwatte said.

Telecommunications is one of the fastest growing sectors in the island and is supported by a ceasefire between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels, entered into in 2002, which is helping mobile phone operators expand coverage in previously war-torn areas.

Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia, dominates the island’s 3.7 million subscriber base with around 60 percent market share, follow