Mobitel powering an ICT enabled nation
In 2005 the Government, under the visionary leadership of President
Mahinda Rajapaksa declared the importance of the role of ICT in Sri
Lanka's future development.
The recognition of ICT as a driver in economic development by the
President precedes his term in office as President, when as Prime
Minister he nurtured and propagated the Nenasala concept.
The seriousness of that commitment was reflected by the inclusion of
ICT in the Mahinda Chinthana.
Mobitelís 3G coverage
This was followed by a greater level of infocomm adoption by the
government. A telecom regulatory policy that encouraged investment in
new technology was introduced, and the year 2009 was declared as the
Year of ICT and English.
- Base Status in 2005
In 2005, the Cellular sector and the Broadband sub-sector of Sri
Lanka were lagging the South Asian region. Cellular Penetration was a
merely 17 percent, and Broadband subscription was negligible and
uncertainty loomed as regards its actual demand.
Mobitel - rising to the call to power
Complementing the President's vision and the Government's ICT goals,
Mobitel announced its vision of making Sri Lanka an infocomm and
knowledge rich society. The realization of the company's vision
primarily hinges on a two-prong strategy, UN making mobile communication
widely accessible and affordable, and investing for the future.
Towards making its basic products affordable to all, the company
introduced its value innovated SMART prepaid service that became an
instant success and a solution that attracted close imitations by some
of the competition.
Upahara, designed by Mobitel for greater inclusivity of the State
sector, clergy and pensioners for their general communication needs was
yet another innovation that had in excess of 500,000 subscribers
adopting the product within the shortest time span.
To make its products more conveniently and readily accessible by
customers, the company reached beyond the traditional distribution
channels to the extent of bringing the product to the doorsteps of
customers using the services of the general postal system.
Towards ensuring that the benefits of ICT technology enjoyed by the
developed world are similarly available to all Sri Lankans, Mobitel took
a huge leap into the future by investing in the latest 3.5G HSPA high
The company was the first in South Asia, and among the first ten in
the world to invest in this technology.
In hindsight success of that decision is reflective of the company's
insights into the future of Mobile and Broadband technology and the
ability of Mobitel to be the catalyst in delivering cutting edge
technology and bridging the ICT gap in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a great example of how HSPA can make broadband services
much more widely available in countries where fixed lines are scarce.
Now Sri Lankans will be able to use HSPA to both download and upload
at high speeds, putting their country at the cutting edge of the global
mobile broadband market." - Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer -
GSMA (Source: SLT Annual Report 2007)
At present, Mobitel covers 98 percent of the population and of that
70 percent is 3G enabled.
With the return to normalcy, plans are under-way to expand 3G
coverage by the company in the north and east regions in the immediate
term so that the peace dividend could be equitably shared.
As overall cellular penetration boarders 80 percent in Sri Lanka,
fast closing the gap with developed economies, Mobitel outpaced the
industry and achieved many other feats.
Between the years 2005 and 2009 the company recorded the fastest
growth rates in both subscribers and revenue. Subscribers grew by a
phenomenal 68 percent per annum, from a base of 393,000 in 2005 to 3.8
million in 2010, compared to an industry subscriber growth of 44
percent. Revenue, for the same period, has grown from Rs 3.5 billion in
2005 to an estimated Rs 20 billion in 2010.
Such growth in subscriber base and revenue was achieved by also a
carefully executed strategy based on value innovation and brand building
through service excellence. Mobitel received many international and
national accolades, awards and high ratings for its commitment to
customer service, innovation and quality.
The SLIM Brand Excellence Gold Award in categories of Best New
Entrant for the Year and Service Brand of the Year, in 2010, and the
Excellence in quality, Engineering and Business and customer
satisfaction according to independent rating are just two examples of
such recognition. Mobitel is also the Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Delivering a knowledge rich society
Mobitel, as a national minded corporate entity, remains dutifully
committed to fulfilling its role of helping realize the many ambitious
goals for the country. Mobitel is buoyant of the future and is cognizant
of potential Sri Lanka possesses to emerge as a regional power house.
As Sri Lanka races to become the Wonder of Asia, Mobitel will gear up
to propel the country forward in the ICT front, transforming the country
into a 21st Century knowledge economy and leading the way in becoming an
infocomm and knowledge rich society.