Cooling Off

Dilshan Wirasekara, Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Treasuries PLC

Tension between key telecom operators and the government eased Friday with both parties forming a working group to iron out issues.rn

rnThe working committee will meet on February 13 to untangle issues on local access charges, ways to prevent illegal access and rules to prevent cross subsidies. rn

rnMinistry sources said the issue will be resolved quickly as the government is keen to open up the telecom market to many players with the aim of bringing down the cost of local calls and rolling out connections to the rural areas.rn

rnOperators agreed to come up with specific commitments to prevent cross subsidies. The six operators endash Lanka Bell, Suntel, SLT, Celltel, Dialog and Mobitel endash also agreed not to tie up with unlicenced external gateway operators (EGO).rn

rnSri Lanka Telecom is paying around a billion rupees to its rivals Suntel and Lanka Bell as interconnection fees. rn

rnHowever, SLT has does not have a similar agreement with mobile operators. There are allegations that unlicence