Mobitel, the cellular arm of Sri Lanka Telecom, has signed an agreement with the country’s Board Of Investment (BOI) to trial and deploy a 4G mobile broadband network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Forming part of its current USD60 million phase of network expansion and upgrade – which will see its network augmented with 1,000 LTE-capable base stations – the project’s BOI status will allow Mobitel to import LTE equipment from Chinese technology partner ZTE free of custom duty. As quoted by The Island newspaper, Jayampathi Bandaranayake, the chairman of the BOI, said: ‘We are happy to support Mobitel in its endeavour to provide the latest ICT technologies which is sure to catalyse national development.’ Mobitel is aiming to demonstrate mobile broadband speeds nearing 100Mbps (downlink) and 50Mbps (uplink) using LTE, ahead of a commercial launch – the first in the country, it hopes – when suitable radio spectrum becomes available. Anusha Palpita, director general of Sri Lanka’s communications watchdog, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRC), disclosed: ‘The spectrum allocation for the commercial operation of LTE will soon be finalised where[upon] the operators will be able to launch nationwide enhanced ICT infrastructure to benefit all businesses and consumers in Sri Lanka through this latest evolution in mobile broadband technology.’
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