Business Times

Major tech expansion by Dialog to cover entire Sri Lanka

Dialog, Sri Lanka’s biggest mobile phone operator, is planning a major expansion in technology in coming weeks/months to expand its reach to 100 % of the country’s land area.“We’ll be announcing an expansion fairly soon which will be (very) substantial,” noted Hans Wijayasuriya, Director and Group Chief Executive Dialog Telekom,

This, he added in a recent interview with the Business Times, would be in technology and its reach –‘till we get 100 % land coverage of the country’ from 94%, of geographic coverage now.’

He said the company was also targeting investments in broadband reach, essentially using fibre optic technology. “We will share this with other operators. It’s an infrastructure that we will develop for use by all operators,” he said.

Dr Wijayasuriya shared his thoughts on a range of issues connected to the telecom sector and outside that in terms of Sri Lanka’s post-war growth path. On the need to attract expatriate Sri Lankans to return to take part in the huge development ahead, he said:

“This won’t happen overnight. If we entertain thoughts of them returning overnight that’s too ambitious. On the scale of things, our human resource will never be cheap. It doesn’t deserve to be a cheap resource. It’s a higher end, value added, sector-focussed human resource. The Sri Lankan resource will – if not already - be value added and of a higher quality. We need to structure everything around this. That’s the way the country has to be promoted – a higher-end resource base, not competing with cheap labour against India or China.”

He said it’s crucial to position Sri Lanka at the higher end of everything. The Dialog chief said with globalization, Internet, facebooks and massive connectivity, Sri Lanka cannot have both sides of the coin (stop migration and bring back those overseas).

“There will be migration – Sri Lankans will sell their skills physically or virtually across the world. Likewise we will have access to markets across the world. That’s what we need to be aware of. If we subscribe to the global village and seek to gain the distribution of our human resources, that would be fair gain,” he added.

He said Sri Lanka has a great opportunity to embark on an accelerated path of development, double digit GDP growth, infrastructure and play catch up with South East Asian countries like Malaysia, Thailand which ‘we can aspire to be, to achieve.”

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