SLT unions up in arms over WiMax deal
Sri Lanka Telecom trade unions and technical officers are perturbed over a planned joint venture with UK-based Sky Network (Pvt) Ltd to provide WiMax broadband wireless solution which will bring more benefits to the foreign partner than SLT.
A spokesman for the SLT Joint Trade Union Front told The Sunday Times that its concerns will be conveyed in writing to the SLT CEO on this decision taken by the SLT board to resort to a deal without consulting expert advice.
He accused the management of not pursuing the application to obtain the WiMAX frequency licence from the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission although it had started testing this facility as far back as 2006.
The Sunday Times reliably understands that while TRC is still processing the SLT application for a WiMax frequency which operators like Dialog and Suntel already have and have already rolled out their WiMax services to the public.
Sky Network has been given a licence to operate islandwide.
Unions are accusing the authorities of approving the Sky Network licence as some its directors are connected to the political hierarchy in Sri Lanka and an agreement with SLT is being forced for this purpose. Neither SLT’s senior management nor TRC officials were available for comment on these allegations.
The union official asked why SLT has to resort to a joint venture with another party for WiMax services when Dialog and Suntel were permitted to operate WiMax services on their own.
SLT technical officers said the company has already developed necessary infrastructure to operate WiMAX services. One officer said testing and deploying of a WiMAX broadband wireless solution which began in 2006 had been completed with the assistance of Aperto Networks, a developer of WiMAX base stations and subscriber units. He said he was perturbed by the delay in permission being granted to SLT to operate this service.
"WiMAX is a high-speed, high-capacity, long-range wireless delivery system of all things digital including data, voice, and video content. It is a much more cost effective broadband technology than traditional wire-line based technologies such as ADSL and dialup lines,” he said.
The Sunday Times learns that the SLT board at its last meeting in late January decided to continue with the negotiations on this deal.