Sri Lanka - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Sri Lanka’s mobile broadband market gathers pace

Sri Lanka’s telecoms market is relatively small but mature compared to neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Pakistan. A good start has been made on expansion and provision of supporting infrastructure for telecommunications services.

The fixed line market in Sri Lanka remains underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand. Overall penetration dropped from 16.3% in 2012 to 11.3% in 2017. The market is predicted to decline further over the next five years to 2022 as the mobile segment continues to grow for both voice and data/broadband usage.

Sri Lanka’s mobile market has experienced strong growth over the last five years.

By offering an effective and efficient alternative to the fixed-line networks, with their chronic problems in meeting the general demand for telephone services, the mobile phone has become an essential service and has grown strongly.

Mobile penetration has risen from 96% in 2012 to 126% in 2017. The last three years in particular have seen very strong growth led by the market leader Dialog Axiata. Slow to moderate growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022. The market will be constrained from higher growth due to very strong local competition and a saturated mobile market.

Sri Lanka has seen a very strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years with market penetration increasing from 8% in 2012 to 21% in 2017, driven by a rising level of mobile subscribers. However, the mobile broadband market is still at an early stage of development with penetration well below most other developed Asian countries.

The development of the internet remains of particular concern for Sri Lanka. Coverage and accessibility remains limited and the sophistication of the available services generally remained low.

Fixed broadband penetration in Sri Lanka remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform. Also, the limited and declining number of fixed lines is restricting more widespread development of fixed broadband. However, the market has grown strongly over the past five years from a very small base with penetration increasing from 1.7% in 2012 to 4.7% in 2017. Over the next five years to 2022 strong growth is expected to continue.

Ongoing growth in the telecoms market is likely to be spearheaded by data services (from both mobile and fixed sources). Demand for broadband data services driven by 4G adoption and increased smartphone penetration should drive reasonably strong growth in the local market over the next few years.

The market is now moving from 4G towards 5G mobile services. Dialog Axiata carried out a ‘5G’ network capability trial with technology partners Ericsson and Huawei in Colombo.

The availability of e-commerce applications including mobile banking, e-bus ticketing, and mobile points of sale (POS) continues to increase.

Key developments:

  • Moderate growth is predicted over the next five years for Sri Lanka’s internet market.
  • The market is now moving from 4G towards 5G mobile services.
  • Fixed broadband penetration in Sri Lanka remains very low mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform.
  • Sri Lanka has seen a very strong increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years.
  • The availability of e-commerce applications continues to increase.
  • Companies mentioned in this report:

SLT (Sri Lanka Telecom), Mobitel, Dialog Axiata; Etisalat Sri Lanka; Hutchison Lanka; Bharti Airtel Lanka; SLT, Lanka Bell, Suntel.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
    • 3.1 Background
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market Overview and Analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC)
    • 5.2 National Policy on Telecommunications
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Overview of operators
    • 6.2 SLT (Sri Lanka Telecom)
    • 6.3 Lanka Bell
    • 6.4 Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Fixed-line statistics and Market Forecast
    • 7.3 National Broadband Network
    • 7.4 Other developments
      • 7.4.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 7.4.2 Fibre optic networks
      • 7.4.3 Fibre to the Building (FttB)
    • 7.5 International infrastructure
      • 7.5.1 Submarine
    • 7.6 Specific IT developments
      • 7.6.1 Cloud Computing
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction
    • 8.2 Internet Statistics and Market Forecast
    • 8.3 Fixed Broadband Statistics and Market Forecast
    • 8.4 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.4.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.4.2 Wireless broadband/WiMAX
      • 8.4.3 WiFi
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Mobile Statistics and Market Forecast
    • 9.2 Mobile Broadband Statistics and Market Forecast
    • 9.3 VoLTE
    • 9.4 MIMO
    • 9.5 Mobile Regulatory issues
      • 9.5.1 Pricing
  • 10. Mobile infrastructure
    • 10.1 Digital networks
      • 10.1.1 3G
      • 10.1.2 4G LTE
      • 10.1.3 4.5G developments
  • 11. Major mobile operators
    • 11.1 Operators
    • 11.2 Dialog Axiata
    • 11.3 Mobitel
    • 11.4 Etisalat Sri Lanka
    • 11.5 Hutchison Lanka
    • 11.6 Bharti Airtel Lanka
  • 12. Mobile Content and Applications
    • 12.1 m-Commerce
  • 13. Digital economy
    • 13.1 E-commerce
    • 13.2 E-government
    • 13.3 e-Health
    • 13.4 e-Education
      • 13.4.1 School Net project
      • 13.4.2 Connect To Learn Project in Kandy
  • 14. Digital Media
    • 14.1 Broadcasting
    • 14.2 Project Loon
    • 14.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT)
    • 14.4 Cable and pay TV
  • 15. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Sri Lanka – 2017 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – Sri Lanka’s real GDP growth rate – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 8 – Percentage of Population Covered by Type of Mobile Network
  • Table 9 – Key Metrics - Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) - 2017 - 2022
  • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed-line operators and subscribers
  • Table 11 – Number of telecom operator licences by category - 2017
  • Table 12 – Historic - SLT fixed-line subscribers
  • Table 13 – Historic - Lanka Bell fixed-line subscribers
  • Table 14 – Historic - DBN fixed-line subscribers
  • Table 15 – Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Table 16 – Historic - Fixed-lines subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2012
  • Table 17 – Fixed subscribers – wireline and wireless (WLL) - 2009 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Historical – fixed-line subscribers, annual change and penetration – 1995 - 2005
  • Table 19 – Historical - WLL subscribers
  • Table 20 – WLL subscribers – 2006 – 2016
  • Table 21 – Internet Users and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Table 22 – Historic - Internet users, annual change and penetration – 1996 - 2012
  • Table 23 – Fixed internet subscribers – 1994 - 2016
  • Table 24 – International Internet Bandwidth and Annual Growth– 1998 - 2017
  • Table 25 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Table 26 – Historic - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2002 - 2011
  • Table 27 – Historic - DSL subscribers
  • Table 28 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Table 29 – Historic - Mobile subscribers, annual change and penetration – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 30 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2009 - 2022
  • Table 31 – Mobile operators and systems
  • Table 32 – Mobile operator subscribers and Market Share - 2017
  • Table 33 – Historic - Mobile operator subscribers and Market Share – 2016
  • Table 34 – Dialog Axiata subscribers and market share – 2004 - 2017
  • Table 35 – Dialog Axiata prepaid subscribers – 2004 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Dialog Axiata ARPU – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 37 – Mobitel subscribers – 2004 - 2017
  • Table 38 – Mobitel annual revenue – 2015 - 2016
  • Table 39 – Etisalat Sri Lanka subscribers - 2004 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Hutchison Lanka subscribers – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 41 – Bharti Airtel Lanka subscribers – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 42 – Key broadcasting statistics
  • Table 43 – DTV’s DTH subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Chart 1 – Fixed Line & Mobile Penetration – 2017; 2022
  • Chart 2 – Internet, Fixed Broadband & Mobile Broadband Penetration – 2017; 2022
  • Chart 3 – Fixed Line Subscriptions and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 4 – Internet Users and Penetration (with Forecast) - 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 5 – Percentage of Households with Internet Access at Home (with Forecast) - 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 6 - Percentage of Households with a Computer (with Forecast) - 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 7 – Fixed Broadband Subscribers (with Forecast) - 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 8 – Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2007 - 2022
  • Chart 9 – Mobile Broadband Subscribers and Penetration (with Forecast) – 2009 - 2022
  • Chart 10 - Mobile operator subscriber market share – 2017

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