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Nod for 5G spectrum auction in 1Q -2022

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The much awaited and long overdue Sri Lanka’s 5G spectrum auction is billed to be carried out in the first quarter of 2022.

According to Information and Communication Technology Authority (ICTA) Chairman Oshada Senanayake, the annual budget for 2022 has given approval to go for a 5G spectrum auction in the first quarter of 2022.

“Connectivity is not only about coverage and I think it’s all about unlocking the spectrum and looking at new paradigms of what 5G bring on to the table. We cannot just focus on today’s connectivity piece. Of course it is imperative due to COVID -19 pandemic and forced digitalization it has infused as a black swan. However we as a country are focused on the next step of 5G as well. In fact we’ve started our trials as early as 2020 even before the pandemic. Today we are all set to go for a 5G spectrum auction.

Now that’s going to bring key elements of ultra low latency as well as massive machine type connectivity which is an imperative to the paradigms again. Moreover, we discuss artificial intelligence, IOT enablement and machine learning. Therefore if we don’t have these policies in place; we cannot basically pivot and I am glad to say we’ve got the focus and are creating tremendous traction in this regard,” Senanayake told a virtual forum organised by Sri Lanka Institute of Directors, International Chamber of Commerce and key other partners held under the theme, ‘Making Sri Lanka a Technology Hub.’ Apart from that Senanayake said that the country is looking at further more aspects such as non geostationary orbit facilities. Speaking further Senanayake said affordability is key in terms of inclusivity.

“We want to get the affordability piece right. I think sustained pragmatic tax reforms and policy that has been set on a long- term basis without any change has enabled us to achieve significant milestones as well.” Moreover, based on the latest International Telecommunication Union Report , benchmarking globally all the countries in terms of affordability of internet, Sri Lanka has come to the 20th rank for the most affordable fixed broadband and 13th rank for mobile broadband affordability.

“In fact, for mobile voice, Sri Lanka has come to the 7th in the world; only six more countries are ahead of us. I think that is an important step for us to look at affordability, because we’re talking about a digital inclusive Sri Lanka.”

Noting that digital inclusive piece is all about affordability, accessibility and digital skills, Senanayake said, “We’ve got key pieces correct and also need to focus on digital literacy not only computer literacy but digital literacy. That’s something we need to improve in order to create that digital economic piece from a local perspective.

Senanayake also stressed that Sri Lanka as a country needs to change its perspective from a technology first approach to citizen experience first approach.


“I think that’s where we have been going wrong for decades where we’ve been looking at the technology first approach. I think we have to think from a different perspective and it has to be from the citizen experience side. To this end, we need to ensure that the right institutional framework is in place. We need to look at the key elements of digital transformation and that it is getting the connectivity piece right. And on top of that we need to ensure that we have a pragmatic approach based on a maturity model in particular to transform citizen services from a legacy approach,” he added.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 – 01:00

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