Business Times

SLT subscribers forced to pay more for telephone calls: Telecom expert

Subscribers of Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) are forced to pay high charges for their telephone calls without their knowledge, a Telecom industry expert warned. SLT’s call charges which excepting those of the discount band –are much more than the mobile charges, a fact revealed when comparing call charges based on recognized telecom engineering practice.

Some charges exceeds the mobile by as much as nearly 400%. It is noted that, for the benefit of the users who may be lured to remain with their current SLT package the expected bill reduction through fixed mobile substitution ranges from as high as 80% to as low as 17%, depending on the nature of usage, he said. He noted that the expected bill reduction on substitution of SLT’s fixed service peak and economy band calls with mobile is around 55%. Therefore the SLT’s plan to introduce new price packages soon to its customers is nothing but a Hobson’s choice.

He stressed the urgent need to improve capacity utilization and bring down costs to boost SLT’s revenue. The most important is arresting the decline in utilization and revenues arising from substitution of SLT’s costly peak and economic band calls by less costly mobile calls - motivated by expected attractive bill reductions of around 55% .

To deter fixed mobile substitution the SLT call charges need to be reduced to commensurate with the less costly mobile call charges The other, is boosting SLT revenues, by emulating British Telecom’s successful experience in liberalizing the bandwidth of the ubiquitous copper wire for competition in ADSL, that enabled UK to provide wideband access at affordable prices and at average speeds of nearly 6 Mb/sec. In contrast, SLT’s ADSL services are affordable to a minuscule of the Sri Lankan population at a paltry speed most of the time less than 0.5Mb/sec. he added.

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