Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) has posted a lower-than-expected 4% rise in 2007 group net income, despite strong profit growth at mobile arm Mobitel, as tariff changes hurt its final quarter, reports Reuters. The partly state-owned operator’s annual net profit rose to LKR5.64 billion (USD52.3 million), up from LKR5.44 billion in 2006, as total revenues grew by 6% year-on-year to LKR43.23 billion. Net profit for the fourth quarter fell 17% to LKR1.3 billion, after SLT was ordered to reduce monthly fixed line rental charges and to switch to a second-based billing system from a unit-based system. Mobitel’s mobile customer base increased from 885,000 at the start of 2007 to 1.4 million at the end of the year, as the GSM unit’s net operating profit rose by 497%. The cellco expanded coverage island-wide with more than 1,000 base stations deployed by the end of December.
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