Reiterating its commitment to expanding connectivity to every corner of the nation, Dialog Axiata PLC, the widest network in Sri Lanka, launched its 4,000th network tower in Thihawa village, Kurunegala, to further expand coverage to rural communities in the area.
In its continued efforts to expand coverage and support customers during these unprecedented times, Dialog has added 515 new towers to the network during the pandemic period reaching 4000 mobile 4G sites in its network, the highest ever tower count recorded in Sri Lanka. Dialog made use of Green Field towers in rapidly expanding its coverage to reach deep rural communities and the Lamp pole solutions to cater to urgent capacity requirements in dense areas. Dialog will continue to enhance coverage to deep rural communities through another 450 towers, including TRCSL’s “Gamata Sanniwedanaya” project, in the next 6 months, targeting more than 95% population coverage by end of 2021.
Dialog’s network accommodated more than 100% growth in mobile data traffic & more than 200% growth in fixed data traffic during the pandemic period, where the network carries more than 60% of the total mobile data usage of Sri Lanka. To meet the surge in demand, Dialog upgraded the capacity of 2,831 mobile 4G towers and 1,816 fixed broadband towers during the pandemic period and are targeting to enhance the capacity of more than 75% of the sites in the network by the end of the year.
Dialog also made more than twofold enhancements to the spectrum assigned to mobile 4G network by investing in 40MHz spectrum in the 2,600MHz band and re-allocating 13 MHz of frequency previously used for 2G and 3G to 4G broadband with the approval of TRCSL. This is a significant enhancement to Dialog’s spectrum assignment for 4G Broadband, which will enable the network to deliver superior performance, despite catering to a larger customer base and traffic growth.
Furthermore, to ensure that no child is left behind, Dialog is facilitating 100,000 schoolchildren in need with Data Scholarships through its ‘NanaDiri Data Scholarship’ programme to support their online learning endeavours. The Company also introduced ultra-low-cost data packages as low as 25 GB of Zoom & Microsoft teams usage for just Rs. 165 a month, which aims to cater to the education requirements of the children of marginalised and rural communities.
Dialog is the nation’s largest foreign direct investor with a total investment of USD 2.8 Billion to date and infrastructure investments of USD 207 Million planned for 2021. The ongoing investments are part of the USD 254.1 million investment committed with the Board of Investments in February 2020.
Speaking at the occasion, Oshada Senanayake, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka said, “We are pleased to be present here today at Dialog’s latest network site launch in Thihawa, Kurunegala. This new tower facilitates 20 villages with both fixed and mobile 4G coverage, and not only enables students to engage in meaningful e-learning, but also changes the way the communities can now utilise the power of connectivity to possibly transform their work and businesses digitally.”
Commenting, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “We are grateful to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, Board of Investment and relevant authorities for facilitating this milestone and rapid expansions to serve our consumers. We are thankful to our customers for their valued patronage and confidence placed on our services. We appreciate the support extended by our partners to fast-track deployments despite challenges caused by the pandemic. Dialog remains committed to continuing its efforts in increasing bandwidth and strengthening the resilience and coverage of our network.” Mr. Pradeep De Almeida, Group Chief Technology Officer of Dialog Axiata PLC said, “This landmark 4,000th site is part of our mission to cover the most remote regions in the country, and we are pleased to present this new site to the communities of the Thihawa area. We are investing Rs 50.9 Billion to enhance connectivity across the nation during the pandemic period, in response to the surge in demand for connectivity and to support our customers during these unprecedented times.”