More than 40 towers a month in the small Sri Lanka market

Posted on January 12, 2009  /  2 Comments

Sri Lanka is a small and densely populated country.  When the oldest mobile operator (started business in 1989) says that it is adding 40 towers a month, it shows a real hard push to increase coverage in rural Sri Lanka.  The reward is reaching 2 million customers and high customer satisfaction ratings, according to the CEO.

Sri Lankan mobile operator Tigo, a unit of Millicom International Cellular, said it had reached two million subscribers in 2008 after heavy investments to expand its network coverage.

A statement from the company, formerly known as Celltel Lanka, attributed the growth to “network expansion, the strength of the brand and excellent customer service.”

“The year 2008 saw heavy investment by the company to expand the network adding an average of 40 towers a month,” the statement said.

“The way we define a customer is the strictest in the country, which is why we normally do not disclose the size of our customer base,” said Tigo chief executive Dumindra Ratnayaka.

Full story on LBO.


  1. Prof, is it possible to know the Basis of Dialog’s Claim of 5 Mn. Is there any regulation in Sri Lanka which govern subscriber number? What is the situation in other countries?

  2. There is no rule anywhere on what constitutes a mobile subscriber. After much discussion, we gave up. We only say mobile SIMs in operation. Different companies have different rules, in some cases like Dialog for different value reloads.

    Only place where overcounting has been a serious problem is India, where spectrum is given on the basis of how many subs a company has. In other places overcounting simply dilutes ARPU. So what they gain on one side they lose on the other.