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Sri Lanka - Key Statistics, Telecom Market Overview and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Sri Lanka’s telecommunications sector has had to contend with a developing market in the difficult context of a nearly two-decade-long conflict between the government and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. With the end of the war in 2009 has come the hope of an enduring peace and a general improvement in the country’s social and economic well-being. This also found the telecom sector well positioned for vigorous growth. As this report describes, there are a range of major initiatives in place that should boost the building of national infrastructure and open the market to more competition. Sri Lanka Telecom losing its monopoly in a number of key areas earlier on led the way and since then the market has progressively been opened up to more and more competition. The presence of foreign investors has been a positive factor in the growth in the market. In the meantime, a mobile penetration of just over 90% coming into 2012 suggests there is more room for growth in that market segment; fixed-line subscriber growth is stagnant, with little chance of revival; and broadband internet is finally starting to grow strongly from a low base. As well as providing an overview of the telecom market in Sri Lanka, this report provides a range of key statistics for the sector plus scenario forecasts for fixed-line growth.

Key developments:

The mobile market was moving quickly towards 100% penetration by end-2012. Full service operator Dialog Axiata has acquired fixed-line operator Suntel; SLT launched another major optical fibre project in 2011. Fixed wireless service constituted 74% of total fixed line services by June 2011. The local economy is growing at around 7% in the ‘post-conflict’ period.

Companies covered in this report include:

SLT, Lanka Bell, Suntel, Dialog Axiata (formerly Dialog Telekom), Etisalat Sri Lanka (formerly Tigo), Mobitel, Hutchison Lanka, Bharti Airtel Lanka.


1. Synopsis
2. Key Statistics
3. Country Overview
3.1 Background
3.2 Economy
4. Sri Lanka’s telecommunications market
4.1 Overview
4.2 World Bank-Dialog Axiata training initiative
4.3 Background to development
5. Regulatory Environment
5.1 Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC)
5.2 National Policy on Telecommunications
5.2.1 Adoption in 1998
5.2.2 The years 2001-2005
5.2.3 Proposed Ten Year Development Plan (2006-2016)
5.3 Historical overview
5.3.1 Convergence Act
5.4 Deregulation
5.4.1 Background
5.4.2 EGO Licences – International licences
5.4.3 International Traffic Bypass Control rules
5.5 Licences
5.6 Regulatory developments
5.7 Privatisation
5.7.1 SLT
6. Telecommunications Infrastructure
6.1 Overview
6.2 National telecom network
6.3 Forecasts – fixed-line market – 2015; 2020
6.4 Infrastructure development
6.4.1 STL’s role
6.4.2 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
6.4.3 Fibre optic networks
6.4.4 National Backbone Network (NBN)
6.4.5 Payphones
6.4.6 Numbering plan
6.4.7 Internet Protocol (IP) networks
6.5 International infrastructure
7. Notes on forecasting
8. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 – Country statistics Sri Lanka – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – June 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – June 2012
Table 4 – Mobile statistics – June 2012
Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 – Sri Lanka’s real GDP growth rate – 2006 - 2013
Table 7 – National network status – June 2012
Table 8 – Number of telecom operator licences by category – June 2012
Table 9 – Fixed lines in service, annual change and teledensity – 1995 - 2012
Table 10 – Fixed subscribers – wireline and WLL - 2009 - 2012
Table 11 – Forecast fixed line subscribers and penetration rate – 2015; 2020
Table 12 – WLL subscribers – 1996 - 2012

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