Sri Lanka Mobile Broadband Advertising: Dialog takes a U turn; et tu Mobitel?

Posted by on January 24, 2009  /  57 Comments

Broadband users in Sri Lanka are lucky – in a way. There is a battalion of Sinhala/English bloggers to keep vigil on the quality of service experience. This time the credit goes to Rukshan Kothwala. As the fresh engineering undergraduate from Peradeniya University notes in his blog, Dialog has started advertising its unlimited 3G based mobile broadband package as 1 Mbps, not 7.2 Mbps as was done earlier.


Experience better quality of Mobile broadband, says Dialog’s banner but do not bet too much on it. Once a user exceeds the limit of 5 GB in this ‘UNLIMITED’ package, the speeds are dropped to 384/64 kbps. If you think that is bad wait till you hear what happens next. Do whatever you want, but not cross 6 GB. Then your will be in narrowband 64kbps/16 kbps. This would be no better than the good ole dial-up. Want more? Pay more, not for the bytes consumed, but for the number of days the facility is made available – even if you download nothing. Surely Dialog has given a brave new definition to the word ‘UNLIMITED’. Do we hear anyone mutter ‘ethical advertising’?

For some time, LIRNEasia has been raising issues on broadband quality – not just in Sri Lanka but in many other countries where we routinely test the performance – but we do not jump to take exclusive credit for this U-Turn by Dialog; not after seeing the heated debates in Dialog Blogs.

This is the reality: The image below compares the speed of two mobile broadband packages Dialog (advertised 3.6Mbps) vs. Mobitel (1 Mbps) as testes by AT-Tester. Lower right hand figure gives the bottom-line. For any international sites the speed available is around 20% of advertised – irrespective of the time of the day or the operator.


And, here is a selection from the Sri Lankan blogsphere:


  1. Mobitel Broadband is the woarst broadband in sri lanka .
    They cheat customers at everytime
    Their actual speed at 7.00pm is 10KBps
    But ,they talking about 94Mbps in thesedays
    why Mobitel foolish guying are doing this kind of F****** things

    i hate mobitel broadband

  2. Lirneasia,

    Which network in Sri Lanka has the widest broadband coverage?

    1. Coverage would have to be defined. One could define it as broadest 3G coverage (the area within which one can use mobile broadband). I’d say it would be either Dialog or Mobitel at this stage, though Etisalat may be catching up. We do not have the data. So only guesses.

      Does coverage mean who has the most mobile broadband customers? My colleague Helani Galpaya may be able to name the company, but the data I have seen has not been disaggregated at operator level.

      Mobile broadband is where most customers are. However, if you mean fixed broadband, the answer is easy. It’s SLT.