Business Times

Etisalat says minimum call rates good for the industry

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

Etisalat, announcing its US$163 million network expansion in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, welcomed the recent floor price for telephone calls set by the telecom regulator. “The minimum floor price (of Rs 2) which was implemented by the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) from the 15th of this month is beneficial to telco operators as well as the consumers,” Duminda Ratnayaka, CEO Etisalat told the Business Times on the sidelines of the press conference to announce the company’s plans.

He noted that telecom firms have to have a healthy business to ensure that good services are delivered to the consumer. “It is better to have price stability for the industry’s sustainability in this 9-player market with 20 million population,” he added.

Bharti Airtel last Friday went to courts against the TRC challenging this directive. Mr. Ratnayake noted that Etisalat’s expansion will see 480 new base stations taking the total to 1580, of which 148 will be in the North Central of the island. He also said that the company’s expansion of its broadband services will see HSPA (high speed packet access) technology with 28.8 megabits per second speeds increase its network coverage from the current 65% to 80%.

He said that since Etisalat launched its services after UAE-based Etisalat bought the Sri Lanka unit from Millicom Cellular International when it exited Asia in late February, it has added 600,000 customers to its base.

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