Will the TRC allow parents to keep in touch with their children using mobiles?

Posted on July 15, 2008  /  8 Comments

In a TV interview yesterday, I said that the new anti-sharing and certificate-carrying rules promulgated by the TRC would affect the poor disproportionately, because the rich could buy their children phones, while sharing was the only option for most Sri Lankans. Indeed, a special package for parents wanting to be in touch with their children in these uncertain times has been just announced (below).

But the question that a commenter raised on the other discussion thread is whether it is any longer possible to buy a mobile for your own child.

If a National ID is required to own a SIM, and the child does not have a NIC, it seems to follow that the child cannot have a mobile.

Has anyone studied the ramifications of the rule before running press notices? The Telecom Act contains provisions for public consultations so that the Commission can educate itself on issues before issuing rulings, and not look silly. Why have these elementary procedures not been followed?

Sri Lanka Dialog launches children’s package – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE

Sri Lanka’s Dialog Telekom has started a mobile phone package for kids with child safety features, world filtering, restricted text messaging (SMS) and features to increase parental control over their child’s phone, the company said.


  1. Sadly, these new regulations also shows the attitude of TRC towards use of ICTs.

    Instead of making 8 million users to carry *paper licenses* with them, they could have requested all operators to spare a port, to which when sent an SMS from a phone provides user details from a central database. (For security concerns a PIN can be issued only to Police)

    Imagine how many trees and how much money we have saved!

    This also addresses the problem of forging licenses. Also if somebody is carrying the phone of a family member the name in database can be counterchecked with what the user provides.

    Isn’t this better ‘National Security’ than asking users to carry a document that cannot be counterchecked for the validity of its information?

    The minds of our bureaucrats are so rusted, no new idea ever come out of them!

  2. Hey
    What happens to people like me who visit SL on holiday and use a KIT card? I have been using the same number for the past three years now.

  3. And the Blackberry I roam with?

  4. And what about the thousands of couple packages and family packages issued by various mobile operators? It is mandatory that these connections remain under one NIC number (primary package holder) and one billing address! Will these simply be canceled out and we’ll all be asked yo go and screw ourselves in the name of national security?

    P.S.- LTTE will aqquire all the mobiles they need anyway. They are a terrorist organization after all. The solution is not to penalize 8 million people if they didnt have some friggin document.

  5. Apparently, I asked the Dialog customer care about this, since I’m under 18, and they said that, as long as it is registered under your parent’s name, its ok!

  6. Yes, I guess it is okay for Dialog but what matters is whether it will be okay for the policemen at checkpoints – particularly if the two surnames – child’s and parent’s – are different, for some reason.

  7. Can someone please tell me whether this regulation has actually been implemented? There is much talk about this but has the regulation been gazetted and brought into force yet?

  8. We’re as confused as the next person on this question. Please see: http://lirneasia.net/2008/07/big-brother-backs-off-individual-mobile-phone-%e2%80%98licenses%e2%80%99-not-for-another-eight-months, but keep going through the comments so that the confusion really builds.

    Then call 1900 and ask. This is the only regulatory commission I know which has taken a valuable short code for its own use! They must be able to give some useful information from this, at least? One hopes. May be the calls that people make after they have been thoroughly confused will justify the waste of the number space.

    Or you can go the TRC’s websites. Again, a very unique organization that has not one, but two websites: one called “current” and the other called “new.” And has had these parallel sites for about half a year, at least.

    Take your pick. Is the new site likely to have the Gazette, or the current one? Or both? Or none? If the Gazette is not on the site(s) does it really exist? If the Gazette exists, but is not on the websites, does the TRC exist?

    These are the existential questions of Sri Lankan telecom regulation.