Sri Lanka auctioned a block of airwaves to become the first country in
South Asia to roll out a full nationwide mobile fourth-generation (4G)
network, a top official said Friday.
Anusha Palpita, the Director
General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, said he
allocated the airwaves to Sri Lanka's largest cellular operator Dialog
Axiata for $26.25 million on Thursday.
He said Dialog, the Sri
Lanka unit of Malaysia's Axiata, will roll out a 4G mobile network that
will allow users to download content from the Internet at speeds four to
five times faster than the currently available 3G.
"We will be South Asia's first with a (country-wide) mobile 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) network," Palpita said.
now, Sri Lanka already has fixed-line telephone 4G in key cities, but
the new mobile 4G network will allow users to access high-speed Internet
with their hand-held devices across the country.
The 4G network is expected to be rolled out "shortly", said Palpita, noting the infrastructure is already in place.
He added that the money raised from the spectrum sale Thursday was the highest ever earned from an auction of airwaves.
Lanka became the first country in South Asia to introduce mobile phones
in 1989 and the first to roll out a 3G network in 2004.
But Palpita said that a vast majority of mobile phones in the country were still older 2G handsets.
five mobile phone operators in Sri Lanka are being encouraged to switch
over to newer technology for its increasing mobile phone connections,
which now outnumber its population of 20 million, he said.