Posts filed under ‘Sri Lanka’
India’s Bharti Airtel launched 2G and 3G mobile services in Sri Lanka under the Airtel brand yesterday as planned, after investing half of a USD200 million network rollout budget taking it up to 2012. Airtel is the fifth cellular player on the island, competing with Malaysian-owned TM International’s Dialog Telekom, Tigo Sri Lanka, owned by Millicom International Cellular, Hutchison Telecom International’s local unit Hutch Lanka and Mobitel, a subsidiary of incumbent telco Sri Lanka Telecom. The Indian-backed cellco is expected to compete mainly on price. Commenting on the development, Bharti Group Chairman Sunil Mittal said: ‘It will be Airtel’s endeavour to drive affordability in the Sri Lankan market…We are confident that with our experience of 88 million customers, we will make a positive impact on the telecom land space of Sri Lanka.’ The company is offering simple tariff plans which do away with peak and off-peak call rates by offering standard tariffs throughout the day and night. Bharti has previously launched overseas mobile services on three other islands: the Seychelles, Jersey and Guernsey (both in the UK Channel Islands).
In other news, the country’s third largest cellco by user base, Tigo Sri Lanka reached two million subscribers by the end of 2008, reports Lanka Business Online. A statement from the company, formerly known as Celltel Lanka, attributed the growth to ‘network expansion, the strength of the brand and excellent customer service…The year 2008 saw heavy investment by the company to expand the network adding an average of 40 towers a month.’ Rapid growth in the island’s mobile market has slowed in recent years and increased competition saw all operators lowering prices and advertising aggressively to retain customers or win new ones. Tigo, like its rivals, offers free incoming calls and per second billing.
Bharti Airtel has announced the launch of its Sri Lanka operations: via its subsidiary Bharti Airtel Lanka Pvt Ltd, Airtel is offering 2.5G and 3.5G services (HSPA). The services that have been launched are, predictably, GSM. The company will be investing around $200 million in its Sri Lanka operations.
What is interesting about the launch are the changes they claim to have made to standard tariff offerings in Sri Lanka – things that we here in India tend to take for granted:
– Same tariffs for peak and off-peak hours (i.e. doing away with the concept altogether)
– Unconditional free incoming calls
– Uniform call charges to any network
The company is also leveraging its network in India by offering 50% lower rates while roaming in India. Airtels network has been rolled out in Lanka over a period of a year – they have a three-year managed network deal with Huawei, partnered with IBM to manage its comprehensive IT infrastructure and application requirements, and selected iSmart Timex as its customer care partner.
Free Sim Card
Airtel took out ads in Sri Lanka offering Free Sim Cards between January 12 and 25; the connection gets activated on a recharge of Rs. 100. There have, apparently, been long queues outside Airtel’s office at Narahenpita, Colombo. So a price war is beginning in Sri Lanka now.
Airtel’s Sri Lanka site appears to be a work in progress, but we gleaned the following from the site:
– I-Moved is a service which allows users that have signed up for Airtel services to inform others.
– RingBack Tones: while no specific VAS company has been mentioned on the site, a statement on their site “BTSL will provide the backend pages for this and we need “Airtel Ring back Tune Search” as a button to click.” indicates that Bharti Telesoft may be powering CRBT for Airtel Lanka
– SMS services – the usual: News, Jokes, Astrology, Lottery Results, Sports, Health and Stock Markets.
– Voice SMS
– Voice Mail
– Video Media Portal: dial 7561 as a Video call for the video portal
– 3G Broadband (mobile phone access)
– Phone Backup Service
– 3G Data Services (USB/Router based)
Why Enter Sri Lanka?
The Teledensity in Sri Lanka appears to be quite high at 61.3%, with 45.7 mobile phones per 100 people and 9,253,067 subscribers. There are already4 other mobile operators in Sri Lanka, and the country has 3G:
Some market stats (Q2 2008):
Total Telecom subscribers (Fixed+Mobile): 12,399,024
Total Teledensity (Fixed & Cellular): 61.3%
Fixed Line Phones: 3,145,957
Fixed Line Teledensity: 15.5%, 36.4% in Colombo District
Cellular Mobile Subscribers: 9,253,067
Mobile Phones per 100 people: 45.7
Internet & Email Subscribers: 215,000
Bharti Airtel Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd today announced the launch of its mobile services in Sri Lanka under the Airtel brand. The services have been launched on a state-of-the-art 3.5G network.
Airtel has launched a suite of innovative services and redefined affordability by offering attractive call rates. What truly sets these tariff plans apart is the simplicity and ease of understanding for the customer, including features such as unconditional free incoming calls.
Airtel’s simple tariffs liberate the customer from the concept of peak and off-peak call rates by offering standard tariffs throughout the day and allowing them to speak freely.
For the first time, Sri Lankan mobile customers will not have to bother with within network and outside network concept as Airtel will offer uniform call charges to any network.
The company will also offer unique and customer relevant Value Added Services.
On the occasion Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Airtel said, “We are extremely honoured to present Airtel to Sri Lanka. At Bharti, we have always believed in undertaking business projects that are transformational and have a positive impact on the society at large. Bharti Airtel has also set global benchmarks in telecom services, be it our unique business model based on outsourcing or innovative products and services.”
“We are delighted at being given this opportunity to serve the people of Sri Lanka and contribute to the growth story of the country. It will be Airtel’s sincere endeavour to drive affordability in the Sri Lankan market and empower more and more people to experience the benefits of mobile internet and telephony. We are confident that with our experience of serving around 88 million customers, we will make a positive impact on the telecom landscape of Sri Lanka,” Mittal added.
Bharti Airtel plans to invest around USD 200 million in its Sri Lanka operations. In just over an year, the company has commissioned a sizeable state-of-the-art network.
This is the fastest network roll-out of its scale by any mobile operator in Sri Lanka. This will enable Bharti Airtel to fulfill its promise of providing world-class mobile services at affordable rates to customers in Sri Lanka.
In line with the innovative business model based on outsourcing that it pioneered, Bharti Airtel has created an ecosystem of partners for its Sri Lanka operations.
It has entered into a three-year managed network deal with Huawei, partnered with IBM to manage its comprehensive IT infrastructure and application requirements, and selected iSmart Timex as its customer care partner.
Indian telecommunication services provider Bharti Airtel‘s Sri Lanka unit will launch its operations on 12 January, writes the Lanka Business Online. The Board of Investment (BOI) has granted concessions to the local operating unit RTEC Mobile Lanka and the project envisages an investment of USD 100 million, which is sponsored by Global Electroteks. The firm will offer GSM and WCDMA voice and broadband internet services.
RTEC Mobile Lanka, a privately owned telco is all set to launch itself as a GSM and SCDMA operator in the Sri Lankan telecommunication market. According to the Managing Director of RTEC Mobile Lanka B.A.C. Abeywardena, the telco will provide mobile (GSM) services and fixed phone with broadband internet services islandwide.
The service provider is expected to invest $100 million in the project initially. The firm has obtained TRC approval and planning to commence their operations within six months and intends a 100% coverage in two years.
The fixed phones will be manufactured in China according to designs provided by the company and the GSM equipment will also be imported from China. RTEC Mobile Lanka will set up 1000 base stations in the country and also expects to utilise the existing base stations to provide the service.
“We are confident that we could compete with the other players in the industry by providing our services for a cheaper rate with high quality. The company expects to price its call charges at least 25 per cent less than the cheapest call charges available in the market at the moment, he said.
“Maintaing minimum operational cost and using local expertise could help us to provide our services for a lesser price. We are planning to manufacture most of our equipment in the country”.
“We think this is the right time to enter into the market even with the current economic conditions. The whole world is facing an economic crisis and it will last for another one to two years. “This economic crises has resulted in price declines in construction goods and lessened competitiveness. It will create more opportunities for newcomers, he said.