Business Times

TRC to dish out LTE, Digital TV and WiMax frequencies next month

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRC) is gearing to allocate frequencies on LTE (Long Term Evolution) which is a next generation mobile wireless broadband technology that will enable operators to offer wireless broadband services at affordable prices along with Digital TV and WiMax, according to TRC sources.

“The LTE frequency will be allocated by next month and Dialog is interested in this,” a TRC source told Business Times on the sidelines of a press conference announcing the acquisition of satellite capability to the country.

LTE is the project name of a new high performance air interface for cellular mobile communication systems and is the last step toward the 4th generation (4G) of radio technologies designed to increase the capacity and speed of mobile telephone networks. While the current generation of mobile telecommunication networks are collectively known as 3G (third generation), LTE is marketed as 4G.

The source also said that TRC has already reserved frequencies for state television broadcasters to go digital (transmit terrestrial transmissions). “Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) applied for this frequency early this year. We have already allocated them a spectrum in this regard and ITN requested a spectrum about a month ago,” he said. He explained that with terrestrial transmissions television broadcasters can use a single frequency network all throughout the country.

He also said that WiMax 16e, a telecommunications technology that provides wireless transmission of data using a variety of transmission modes was allocated to two new data operators and they will start providing WiMax by February.

Meanwhile, Director General TRC Priyantha Kariyapperuma said the TRC has out of the seven Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the proposed broadband backbone network got EOIs from Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog Telekom, India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Sweden's Ericsson and it will start early next year after awarding the contract to a successful candidate,

“The EOIs to lay fibre optic lines in order to install the broadband backbone network were received three months ago by the TRC by both local and international parties. We will shortlist them this month and give them the necessary applications to apply.

By first quarter of next year we will award the contract to a suitable party and the winning firm will also get a US$12.5 million subsidy from the World Bank's e-Sri Lanka project,” he said. He said that the mobile telco sector has indicated a quadrupled growth rate this year, with an escalating number of 13 million mobile subscribers as oppose to three million in 2005.

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