Sri Lanka plans to issue 3G spectrum to all four domestic mobile network operators next week, according to the Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), Kanchana Ratwatte. The UMTS licences cover the 2GHz band and are priced at USD5 million each. Cellular market leader Dialog Telekom launched a 3G testing programme under a trial concession back in March 2004, and subsequently rolled out a pilot W-CDMA service spanning twelve base stations in Colombo. It hopes to offer a full-blown service later this year. The island’s third largest cellco Mobitel, run by dominant fixed line operator SLT, also holds a trial UMTS permit, whilst second placed Celltel and smallest operator Hutchison Telecommunications Lanka are expected to gain 3G spectrum as part of their expansion plans. Celltel has announced that it will roll out a GPRS/EDGE data platform this year as a stepping stone to 3G.
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