Melstacorp-backed Lanka Bell, the Sri Lankan operator which offers fixed-wireless internet access or CDMA WiLL and WiMAX connectivity via wholly owned ISP Bell Net, plans to reinvigorate its business in 2017 through cost cutting and efficiencies. The parent company’s managing director Amitha Gooneratne confirmed that the telco has undergone a difficult period of trading due to a government decision to remove the industry’s exemption status from value-added tax (VAT) of 14%, while taxation of data has also increased sharply over the past three months, levies that Gooneratne says are ‘excessive’. ‘In terms of Lanka Bell, we’re looking to see how we can make it more efficient, we’re looking at the processes to see how we can economise,’ he said, adding: ‘Almost every year [taxes] have been increased, so at the moment most of the revenue that we generate or a substantial amount is contributed to the government in terms of frequency fees, VAT fees and various other levies, so that’s a substantial amount going out and contributing to the government coffers.’
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