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Sri Lanka Telecommunications Report Q4 2013 - New Market Report

New Fixed Networks research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research


Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/05/2013 -- Sri Lanka's telecoms market is mature when comparing it to its regional peers: penetration rates are high, 3G licences were first available in 2007 and, in late 2012, two Sri Lankan operators launched 4G LTE services. Sri Lanka is also seeking to improve speeds in the wireline market, with a national broadband network strategy taking form as the government aims to facilitate internet access. While Sri Lanka is relatively well developed, its progress has not always been smooth, with the civil war previously preventing the development of telecoms infrastructure in affected areas in the north of the island. Since the end of the civil war, private and public sectors are aggressively investing in the reconstruction and expansion process.

Key Data

- The telecoms regulator reported a sharp drop in mobile subscriptions in Q113, with total subscriptions declining by over 1.5mn to 19.336mn. The regulator did not provide an explanation but we believe the loss relates to one-time inactive subscription discounting.
- While we expect operators to look to leverage on consumers' comparatively high purchasing power with services such as LTE, we do not see Dialog Axiata's ARPU being able to overcome the dominance of prepaid subscriptions and competition. We envisage the operator's ARPU to reach LKR344 at end-2017.
- The fixed and mobile broadband markets have continued to expand, with the latest data showing fixed internet subscriptions increased 16.2% to 436,000 in Q113, while mobile internet subscriptions increased 50.3% y-o-y to 1.504.

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Key Trends And Developments

The National Broadband Network (NBN) moved another step closer to existence after the telecoms incumbent, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) outlined plans to extend its high-speed broadband network nationwide within five years, after it won a licence to operate Sri Lanka's NBN in June 2013. SLT plans to cover all 329 divisional secretariats and 24 districts in the country with high-speed broadband connectivity over the NBN by 2018. The government introduced the NBN initiative to develop a digital economy to increase the nation's GDP to US$100bn. Although SLT will operate the network, under the terms of the deal it will allow other operators to transmit data over its fibre backbone, at a wholesale price. This will ensure competition accompanies the extension of infrastructure, benefiting local consumers and businesses.

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