Ericsson of Sweden and Sri Lankan mobile network operator Mobitel, a Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) subsidiary, have formally signed the ‘5G Island of Innovation Memorandum of Understanding’ (MoU) in Colombo, hailed as a landmark strategic ICT partnership designed to bring 5G IoT innovation to the island. The MoU will reportedly strive to ‘further advance the nation’s ICT skills and capabilities, supporting the ambition to transform Sri Lanka into a digital and knowledge based society, driving new and increased employment opportunities enabled by ICT ecosystem innovations’. In a joint press release, the pair note that Mobitel was also a regional pioneer in the advancement HSPA+ MIMO technology and has successfully trialled 4G LTE and 4.5G LTE Advanced (LTE-A) Pro technology.
Parent group SLT recently released its financial results for the year ending 31 December 2016, revealing strong revenue growth of 8.5%, when compared to FY 2015, and profits up by 28.6%. The SLT group, which comprises the holding company, Mobitel, and seven other subsidiaries, recorded net profit of LKR4.8 billion (USD31.8 million) in the period under review, driven by strong growth in revenue for its fixed, ICT and mobile segments, which reached LKR73.8 billion. SLT noted that its decision to invest heavily in data and broadband products helped drive the uptick in sales, although it also reported an 11.7% rise in operating costs – impacted by the increased government tax levies and damages caused to equipment and infrastructure by floods affecting several provinces. Group EBITDA of LKR20.2 billion marked a 1% improvement year-on-year; EBITDA margin was reported at 27.4%.