Mobitel sets out expansion plans; focuses on state workers

19 Sep 2008

Mobitel, the cellular division of Sri Lankan fixed line incumbent Sri Lanka Telecom, has announced that it will increase its customer base by around 300,000 by the year-end to 2.4 million users, helped by a new package aimed at public sector workers, writes Lanka Business Online. Mobitel’s CEO Suren Amarasekera said the firm is connecting over 10,000 new users a day following the recent launch of its ‘Upahara’ package targeting civil servants. Sri Lanka has more than 1.1 million state workers, which officials have estimated could represent the largest ratio of civil service per head of population (approximately 20 million) in the world. To meet the increasing demand, China’s Huawei Technologies has been contracted to expand network capacity under Mobitel’s ‘phase four’ plan to increase the cellco’s number of GSM base stations to 2,000 from the current total of around 1,500, thus raising capacity by 650,000 users to a maximum of 2.75 million, as well as expanding coverage to 90% of the population. However, recognising that these measures will rapidly become inadequate to meet future demand, the company expects to begin ‘phase five’ of its nationwide network rollout as early as January 2009, aiming to increase capacity from 2.75 million to four million users.

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