Sri Lankan state-owned mobile operator Mobitel has contracted China’s Huawei Technologies to install 800 additional GSM base stations as part of a USD200 million three-stage plan to double network capacity, extend coverage, add 3G services and sign up 750,000 new subscribers. CEO Suren Amarasekera said: ‘We more than doubled our customer base in 2006 and we forecast this year to be as good…In the first stage, all the key towns and cities will be covered…We will also cover key highways.’ Mobitel, a 100%-owned unit of fixed line incumbent Sri Lanka Telecom, had around 900,000 subscribers at the end of December, up from 420,000 at the start of the year. Sri Lanka’s mobile market is estimated to have grown by 60% to more than 5.5 million subscribers in 2006. In August, its four cellcos – Dialog, Celltel, Hutchison and Mobitel – were all awarded commercial 3G licences.
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