Wireless Vogue

Chandi Dharmaratne

Apr 17, 2010 (LBO) – Use of wireline phones, supplied only by the listed Sri Lanka Telecom, a former state monopoly, is on the decline, with subscribers shifting to mobile phones, the latest official data showed. The number of mobile connections increased by 25.9 percent to 13.9 million in 2009 from the year before, while fixed telephone lines fell by 0.5 percent to 3.4 million, the Central Bank said in its annual report.

This meant there was an overall growth of 19.6 percent to 17.4 million phone connections in 2009 when compared to that of 2008.

The report said that the number of fixed line phones fell in 2009 with the number of wireline phones falling 6.7 percent because of a shift to mobile phones whose costs have fallen sharply owing to a price war.

The number of fixed wireline telephones in use fell 6.7 percent to 871,000 in 2009 from 934,000 in 2008 when growth had been a mere 0.2 percent, the report said.

“Expansion in coverage and introduction of improved and value added services for comparatively lower price by mobile service providers due to severe competition in the industry brought about discontinuation of existing fixed access telephone connections¬¶,” the Central Bank said.