SLT 3Q income up as mobile unit posts first profit since 2003

1 Nov 2006

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT)’s quarterly profits rose 42% year-on-year to LKR1.57 billion (USD14.5 million) in the three months to the end of September 2006, on revenues that rose 23% to LKR10.32 billion. Earnings were lifted by its wireless in the local loop (WiLL) CDMA services introduced last November; the operator expects its CDMA subscriber base to cross 200,000 by the end of the year. A joint venture with India’s Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to route international traffic between the two countries via the ‘Bharat Lanka’ undersea cable was launched during the quarter and is also expected to boost SLT’s bottom line. Mobitel, SLT’s wholly owned mobile unit, swung to a LKR4 million profit for the third quarter. The cellco, which trails Telekom Malaysia’s subsidiary Dialog Telekom and Celltel Lanka, had reported consecutive quarterly losses since 2003, largely attributed to costs incurred in upgrading its TDMA network with GSM technology.

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