Government steps in to resolve Dialog, SLT licence quarrel

31 Jul 2017

The government of Sri Lanka has intervened to resolve a long-running acrimonious dispute between two of the country’s biggest operators, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and Dialog Axiata subsidiary Dialog Broadband Network (DBN), over the renewal of DBN’s integrated transmission network licence. Local press reports say that, following a meeting with all sides, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has directed SLT and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) to end the dispute amicably, with an out-of-court settlement.

In 2016 SLT filed a ‘fundamental rights case’ with the Supreme Court against TRC and DBN concerning the renewal of the latter’s operator licence. Under Section 17 (3) (a) of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act, No 25 of 1991, the regulator recommended that the President should renew DBN’s licence for a further period of ten years with effect from 10 November 2015. In a filing, however, SLT alleged that its rights to equality had been violated by the recommendation and the Supreme Court granted it leave to proceed. In a possible tit-for-tat move, Dialog subsequently filed a case at the Colombo High Court against SLT for ‘acquiring its confidential information containing the company’s planned future services including comprehensive network architecture and service delivery architecture design specifications’.

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