Sri Lanka’s second largest fixed line telco SunTel says its wireless in the local loop (WiLL) subscriber base rose to 188,000 at the end of December 2005, up from 85,000 a year earlier. The cost of the growth was a 66% year-on-year fall in net profit in the second half of the year to LKR172 million (USD1.679 million), despite revenues for the six-month period growing to LKR2.97 billion, up from LKR1.9 billion in 2H 2004. SunTel has revealed plans to raise USD80 million to fund a three-year WiLL network expansion programme, despite the government saying it will increase tax on its CDMA handsets to 33% from the current level of 18%. SunTel is the larger of the two competitors to Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) in the fixed line market, with WiLL rival Lanka Bell reporting a subscriber base of 40,000 at the end of 2005, almost unchanged in the year.
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