Communications in Sri Lanka

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Main lines in use: 3,145,957 Est(2008)

Mobile cellular in use: 9,253,067 Est (2008)

Telephone system

Very inadequate domestic service, particularly in rural areas; some hope for improvement with privatization of national telephone company and encouragement to private investment; good international service (1999). The latest trend is the CDMA technology, because of this technology many Sri Lankans who live in rural areas can now communicate with each other faster and easier than before.


The national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fiber-optic links are now in use in the Colombo area and two fixed wireless local loops have been installed. Competition is strong in mobile cellular systems but the teledensity rate remains as low as 16.6 phone lines per 100 persons (2004).

Although the reported phone line teledensity is 16.6 (2004) fixed phone line teledensity remains as low as 5.1, where cellular teledensity is 11.4. Reflected Cellular phone teledensity is misleading because some people have more than one phone. Therefore true teledensity remains at a very low figure.


Submarine cables to Indonesia and Djibouti; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (1999)

Broadband Internet access

ADSL was introduced to Sri Lanka in 2003 by provider Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT).

The average speed is 512/128 kbit/s (64 kB/s/16 kB/s), costing Rs. 1600+VAT(US$ 16 approx.) per month for an unmetered flat rate. This is the standard for SLT and resellers. Faster connections up to 2 Mbit/s are available, but the price is considerably higher (Rs. 6500 for 2 Mbit/s (0.25 MB/s))(US$ 65 approx.). In peak hours there are lot of complaints from customers that they are not able to achieve these speeds. The service is available within the Greater Colombo area, Kandy, Galle and is currently being extended. Recently Sri Lanka Telecom has introduced a new plan where one can transfer up to 1GB of data per month for Rs. 500/- (US$ 5 approx.) at speeds of 512kb upload /128kb download. Charge for each additional 1MB is Rs. 0.50 (50 Cents).

Other Communication

Postal Service: Sri Lanka Post

Radio broadcast stations: AM 15, FM 50, shortwave 5

Radio: Est Number of Radio sets: 12 million

Television broadcast stations: 21 (1997)

Televisions: Est 5 million( including B & W sets)

Satellite Earth Stations located: Padukka and Colombo and review

ISPs: 10

Country code / Top-level domain: LK

Telcommunications Regulatory Environment in Sri Lanka

LIRNEasia's Telecommunications Regulatory Environment (TRE) index, which summarizes stakeholders’ perception on certain TRE dimensions, provides insight into how conducive the environment is for further development and progress. The most recent survey was conducted in July 2008 in eight Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Thailand, and the Philippines. The tool measured seven dimensions: i) market entry; ii) access to scarce resources; iii) interconnection; iv) tariff regulation; v) anti-competitive practices; and vi) universal services; vii) quality of service, for the fixed, mobile and broadband sectors.

In Sri Lanka, the mobile sector receives higher scores than the fixed sector for all dimensions excepting interconnection. The broadband sector lags behind both the fixed and mobile sectors in all but one of the parameters (regulation of anti-competitive practices). What also emerges in the results illustrated above is that all the sectors – other than mobile sector USOs – fall below the 3.00 average performance level. [1]

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