Wire Drop

July 29, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s wireline telephone connections dropped by 60,000 to 876,064 in the first quarter of 2009, the latest official data showed, though fixed wireless phone use continued to grow. “The decline of fixed connections started around 2000 in Finland, where now over 40 percent of homes are mobile-only,” says Rohan Samarajiva, head of LirneAsia, a regional policy research body.

“The trend is found throughout the world where people are substituting mobiles for fixed.”

Users of mobile phones grew to 11.4 million in the first quarter, up 30.1 percent or 2.6 million.

Fixed access wireless also grew 18.0 percent (375,325) to 2,088,589 in the first quarter.

Sri Lanka’s fixed access wireless, offered by Lanka Bell, Suntel, Dialog Telecom and Sri Lanka Telecom is based on CDMA (code division multiple access) offering limited mobility.

Wireline is supplied only by Sri Lanka Telecom.

In India the fixed sector slowdown started in 2005 and operators such as MTNL and BSNL deployed special teams to persuade customers not to return their fixed phones.

Samarajiva says high installation charges of SLT, which are non-refundable may have prevented customers from del