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SLT-Mobitel ramps up connectivity and capacity to meet national demand amidst pandemic

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  • Demand for data nearly doubled since onset of pandemic
  • Over Rs. 25 b annual investments on infrastructure development
  • Efforts to provide connectivity to low coverage areas launched

SLT-Mobitel, the national ICT, telecommunications and mobile services provider, has ramped up its service delivery to meet the nationwide increase in data usage and traffic that has nearly doubled since the onset of the pandemic. 

The company announced that an investment of over Rs. 25 billion was made annually in the past few years on infrastructure development, especially to roll out ‘Fibre To The Home (FTTH)’ high-speed broadband networks and 4G LTE Mobile BTS expansions. This is to facilitate an average 30% growth in customer demand for data with each lockdown wave and enhance capacity, speed and bandwidth of internet users.

The unprecedented spread of the coronavirus pandemic early last year across the country meant businesses, education and social interaction heavily depended on connectivity. This posed a challenge for the telecom industry as demand for connectivity increased exponentially, exceeding existing capacities or capabilities.

Given the increased demand, SLT-Mobitel, with its dedicated staff of over 10,000, functions as an essential service, supporting national connectivity priorities while introducing innovative solutions to meet this unprecedented demand.

Home and mobile connectivity

Through its pioneering fibre-optic and ADSL broadband networks, SLT-Mobitel offers uninterrupted connectivity to Sri Lankan homes, enabling them to continue work operations, education, and entertainment activities during travel restrictions and lockdown periods. The company is investing further to enhance and expand coverage to meet increasing demand. 

While 95% of Sri Lanka’s population is covered by SLT-Mobitel’s mobile network, concerted efforts are underway to give connectivity to more people in challenging terrain. 

In the interim, several innovative solutions have been offered by SLT-Mobitel for customers in low coverage areas, including the use of an external antenna attached to the router to enhance reception. 

With a focus on providing children with the best opportunities amidst school closures, SLT-Mobitel introduced low-cost data solutions for online learning and access to content platforms. The company also provided free access to state-led e-learning platforms while offering dedicated education channels including ‘Videsa TV’ through SLT-Mobitel’s PEO TV and PEO TV GO.

National programs

SLT-Mobitel plays a pivotal role in creating a digitally inclusive and prosperous Sri Lanka by giving the public access to the latest tools, platforms and technology. 

As a partner of this effort, the company plays a crucial role in the Gamata Sanniwedanaya and Gama Samaga Pilisandarak national programs by bringing connectivity to the most remote areas of the country. 

While long-term provision of coverage requires lead time for a range of approvals, tower construction and import of equipment, SLT-Mobitel is working closely with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) to further fast-track the establishment of new towers, thereby expediting connectivity to areas that lack coverage. Tremendous progress is being made as a result of the cooperation and support extended by the TRCSL, led by its Director-General. 

Community care

SLT-Mobitel has contributed Rs. 50 million to the COVID-19 Fund to date. Additionally, the company continues to provide medical equipment through the Ministry of Health for the healthcare sector as they battle COVID-19. 

SLT-Mobitel further facilitated the use of eChannelling to register and schedule COVID-19 vaccinations in the Colombo Municipal area. 

The company has also distributed over one million face masks for the protection of the General Public, as well as dry ration packs for communities directly affected by COVID-19 and the recent floods.

Future commitment 

With ongoing investments in infrastructure development, SLT-Mobitel continues its transformation as a comprehensive digital service provider. The company remains focused on the shared national vision of establishing Sri Lanka as a global innovation hub, creating connections not only with each other but with the world.

Source FT
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