The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has informed the country’s parliament that the necessary arrangements to start commercial activities related to 5G technology will begin in 2023. Speaking at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Technology recently, officials from the regulatory agency confirmed that moves are afoot to allow mobile operators and ISPs alike to develop full-blown commercial services using fifth-generation technologies.
Previously, in November 2021, the TRCSL revealed its intentions to issue a tranche of telecom licences via auction, including 5G spectrum frequencies. In a speech that month, the country’s then finance minister Basil Rajapaksa outlined a shift away from the usual process of awarding concessions to doing so via auction. Although details are patchy, the TRCSL plans to award a number of licences for fixed voice, mobile, internet service provision and satellite broadcasting operations. Explaining the shift, Rajapaksa said the decision was made in consideration of the considerable CAPEX on telecoms services made via issuing the licences and confirmed the auction would include the sale of 5G-suitable frequencies.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in the interim, the TRCSL has granted some mobile network operators (MNOs) rights to use spectrum in the 3.5GHz band (e.g. Dialog Axiata) for pre-commercial 5G services, while SLT-Mobitel activated its first 5G base station at One Galle Face in March 2020.