Mobile network operator (MNO) Mobitel, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), will invest upwards of USD50 million in 2019 to deploy a 5G network and to further develop its existing infrastructure, CEO Nalin Perera is quoted as saying. The official told the Daily News Business paper that 5G trials are already underway, noting that towers equipped with the next generation of mobile technologies will provide data transfer speeds ten times higher than those afforded by its current 4G LTE network. In FY 2018 Mobitel’s CAPEX reached USD100 million he said, a significant portion of which went to converting 3G base stations to 4G. Indeed, up until end-2018 Mobitel’s total investment topped USD600 million over its 25-year history. ‘This process is continuing and Mobitel will soon be dropping our 3G network,’ he is quoted as saying, noting that despite heavy infrastructure investment and foreign exchange losses last year, the unit was able to post revenue in excess of LKR3.9 billion (USD22.3 million) in FY18. ‘This is a 10% year-on-year increase,’ he confirmed, noting that while voice revenue is dropping, ‘if you analyse our profits, almost 80% has been generated from voice. But this is declining.’
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