Digital President

Sept 09, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has a ‘digital president’ who is strongly backing the spread of information communications technology (ICT) in the country, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) chief Toure Hamadoun said. Sri Lanka now had 44 percent mobile penetration, which was double that of India.

It was the first country in South Asia to start mobile phones, the first to start GSM services, and the first to start third generation (3G) services.

He said while technology was positive, allowing people to learn, to access better medical facilities, but in Sri Lanka mobile telephony has been used for terror attacks.

This has prompted defence and regulatory authorities to impose restrictions.

“I hope these are not for ever,” he said.

“Not that we would like to impose restrictions, on mobile telephony but for the safety of the population we need to bring a certain regime into force.”

New regulations have made it illegal to citizens to carry a phone belonging to another person, and operators are now engaged in registering phones.

The rules have been challenged in court.

“A sound regulatory environment is key for market growth,” Hamadoun told an Asia Pacific GSM (global system for mob