Rural Reach

September 8, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Telecom said Friday they were in talks with payphone operator Tritel Services (Pvt) Ltd to buy an equity stake. Malaysian owned Tritel, the island's biggest payphone operator, currently piggybacks on wireless, wireline, mobile and CDMA (code division multiple access) technology to connect over 3,000 booths scattered islandwide.

Being the country's biggest fixed line operator with 85 percent market share, Sri Lanka Telecom, also has over 2,000 payphones of its own.

"Sri Lanka Telecom has decided to undertake a due diligence exercise of Tritel to expand the company's access coverage, in an attempt to reaching the entirety of Sri Lanka," SLTs Chief Executive, Shuhei Anan said.

The acquisition, if it goes through, gives the telco giant a chance to ride on Tritel's rural reach to market products like SLTs internet services, CDMA and so forth.

Japan's Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT) controls 35.2 percent of SLT, the Sri Lankan government owns 49.5 percent and the public 15.3 percent. SLT posted a 67 percent year-on-year growth in net profits of 2.30 billion rupees for the six months to June,

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