The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has identified more than 2,000 ‘dark spots’ on the island which have ‘weak signals’, as well as observing that 122 of 152 Grama Niladari Divisions (GND) currently do not have (mobile) broadband coverage. To help redress this – and mindful of its aim to introduce fixed number portability (FNP) and mobile number portability (MNP) from October 2021 – the regulator has also implemented two major pieces of legislation designed to improve coverage and service quality in the mobile sector. With the TRCSL currently in the technical planning stage for introducing FNP/MNP, Oshada Senanayake, Director General TRCSL told the Business Times: ‘We updated the quality of service (QoS) gazette after 18 years and also gazetted the Radio Telecommunications Terminal (RTT) rules’. The QoS rules dictate matters such as ‘how long a customer can be on hold by a telephone operator, the quality of the call, bill resolutions etc,’ he added, while pointing out that QoS for data/ broadband is ‘expected in the near future’.
Furthermore, Mr Senanayake said that updating the country’s RTT rules – part of which defines the minimum standards for mobile phones – the TRCSL hopes to ensure that ‘Sri Lanka will not be a dumping ground for fake and sub – standard devices’. The paper reports him as saying that products not approved by 16 December 2020 must have approval under the new RTT Type Approval Rules while all type approval certificates issued prior to 16 December 2020 under the old rules will expire automatically on 17 June 2021. Finally, the official stated that issues surrounding non-utilisation of mobile spectrum – in some cases operators are being hampered by the ‘high number of court cases on spectrum allocation, which ultimately affected the QoS in the voice services’ – are now being cleared and that ‘refarming of spectrums has started now in a bid to overcome interference propagated by signals in neighbouring countries’.