India’s MTNL and BSNL have been losing fixed subscriptions for years; Sri Lanka joined the club recently. Now we see the heirs to AT&T throwing in the towel. I guess it was like this when the railways replaced the canals. How long will it take for policy makers in emerging Asia to see where the wind is blowing? Roll over in your grave, Alexander Graham Bell.
We wrote a few weeks back that fixed-mobile substitution that was decreasing fixed subscriptions in India and Pakistan had arrived in Sri Lanka. Instead of waiting for more fixed phones to be disconnected, Sri Lanka Telecom is taking proactive steps to keep its customers. Shows that competition delivers what court cases and regulation cannot. Sri Lanka Telecom, the island’s dominant fixed line operator, said it was offering lower rates and discounts in new subscriber packages amid intensifying competition among phone companies. In its new post-paid tariff plans called ‘V talk’, call rates to fixed and mobile phones have been reduced up to 35 percent and monthly rental reduced up to 48 percent, the company said in a statement.
Both India and Pakistan had negative growth in fixed wireline 2003-2008: -3.5 for India and -0.4 for Pakistan. Sri Lanka has too, but this is masked by the rapid growth of CDMA, which in this country is called fixed.