Cable Landing

Chandi Dharmaratne

September 01, 2006 (LBO) – Lanka Bell, one of Sri Lanka’s privately held wireless telecom operators, is in talks with India’s FLAG Telecom to lay an undersea cable linking both countries. The 25 million dollar deal is due to be inked shortly, with the cable also extended from Sri Lanka to the Maldives.

“Once finalised the project will take about a year to finish,” Lanka Bell’s Executive Director Prasad Samarasinghe told LBO on Friday.

Sri Lanka Telecom currently has undersea cable links through the SEA-ME-WEA (South East Asia Middle East and Western Europe) consortium which helps channel overseas traffic.

Dialog Telekom currently rides on its parent company Telekom Malaysia to route their overseas traffic.

Lanka Bell started off in 1997, with a license to provide fixed line services using wireless local loop technology.

The telco’s Singaporean owners Transmarco subsequently sold 76.6 percent to Sri Lanka’s Milford Holdings (Pvt) Ltd a unit of business tycoon Harry Jayawardene led Distilleries Group in 2005 for 16 million dollars.

Last year, the telco rolled out a 40 million dollar expansion plan to connect rural Sri Lanka using low cost CDMA (Code d