20th April 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Sri Lanka's telephone density rose to 100.8 lines per 100 persons in 2010 showing that fixed and mobile connections had overtaken the population, in a telling demonstration of the results of ending a state monopoly.
Telephone density rose from 86.6 in 2009 in a country with a population of 20.6 million, according to data published by Sri Lanka's central bank.
Mobile phone users grew 20.9 percent to 17.2 million while fixed access wireline which has slumped in 2009 recovered to grow 2.9 percent to 897,000.
Industry analysts say owners of more than one mobile subscriber identity module (SIM) is growing.
Wireless fixed access phones grew 4.3 percent to 2,674,000.
Sri Lanka's telekom market was a state monopoly until the mid 1990s when a privatization and liberalization drive was launched. Sri Lanka Telekom, a state fixed wireless operator was sold to Japan's NTT and two wireless operators were licensed.
At the same time arbitrary pricing was replaced by a regulated tariff re-balancing plan where local calls were raised progressively to allow the fixed operator to deal with lower termination revenue in a global environment of de-regulation.
Prices have since stabilized and have even fallen in some areas in real terms.
Mobile services, which originated as a private business with Millicom International Cellular starting South Asia's first mobile network saw competition, when Australia's Telia started a joint venture with the incumbent fixed operator.
Sri Lanka now has five mobile firms, in a fiercely competitive market.
Another recent growth sector has been broadband both in mobile and wireline. A key reason for the expansion in the wireline sector has been broadband data.
Data showed that internet connections including mobile broadband had grown 79.2 percent to 430,000 in 2010.
Meanwhile payphones in service fell 4.4 percent to 7,054.
The data also showed that mail use has declined. Letters per inhabitant had fallen to 17 from 20 a year earlier.
Related Info :
• Sri Lanka Mobile & Wireline Users Grew by 24pct in Q3 2010