Sri Lanka hits the LTE road with trials, rollouts

Sri Lankan telco Dialog Axiata has launched 4G/LTE network trials at a variety of locations across Colombo. The trials are taking place in parallel with the carrier’s countrywide expansion of HSPA+ services and, according to the carrier, is “the first exposition of an  LTE network in the South Asian region.” The pilot networks are running on Huawei kit.

The trials, which have gone live in the Colombo Fort, Colombo 2, 3 &4 and Narahenpita areas of the city, recorded data speeds in excess of 100Mbps in indoor demonstration mode, dropping to 40-50Mbps in typical outdoor usage situations.

Dialog Axiata operates under the Dialog Mobile brand in Sri Lanka. Having launched as the country’s fourth operator in 1995, it has the largest subscriber base in the country, with 6.9 million subscribers and a market share in excess of 30 per cent. In 2006, it was the first carrier to roll out a 3G network in the region.

Earlier this week, rival carrier Mobitel – the mobile division of state-operated Sri Lanka Telecom – announced that it had signed an agreement with the country’s Board of Investment (BoI) to deploy its own LTE network, which it says will involve the deployment of 1,000 LTE base stations supplied by ZTE. Mobitel has also completed LTE trials, reporting 96Mbps upstream and 49Mbps downstream speeds. The agreement with the BoI means the carrier will be exempt from import duty on its LTE kit. Etisalat Sri Lanka is also looking to join the LTE party. This month, it announced the completion of its “LTE-ready” network; the telco is awaiting the allocation of commercial spectrum but has launched its “3.75G” network in the meantime, which it claims is the first in the country and makes it the only all-IP player there.


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