Rohan Samarajeewa


Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which had announced its entry into the Sri Lankan mobile phone sector with much fanfare last year, is experiencing delays and may well be re-drawing its investment plans for the island country, says a Sri Lankan telecommunication expert. Rohan Samarajeewa, former head of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), told IANS that while there was no doubt that Bharti Airtel was committed to operating in Sri Lanka, it had altered its timetable and could well be scaling down its original investment plans. The reasons for the delay in starting the operations were in the realm of speculation, Samarajeewa said. But he did point to a possibility of difficulties in getting frequencies from the TRC, as it is generally recognized that the allotment of frequencies tends to be “highly politicised” in Sri Lanka. The parent company in India could also be changing its priorities as regards capital allocations, in the context of the growing challenges in the more lucrative Indian domestic market, Samarajeewa said.
Business Telecom Analysts are of the view that even though government has imposed a 10 percent tax on usage over the existing 15 percent value added tax, the mobile companies are unlikely to increase prices. “I don’t think that the four major mobile companies in the country will go for a price hike as there is prospective competition with the arrival of Bharti Airtel by the beginning of the next year. Besides, the industry is growing” said former telecom regulator and industry analyst Professor Rohan Samarajeewa. He further said that this increase in tax might have a negative impact on people’s usage of mobile phones. “If the levy was imposed the way it was planned, the Rs.
We could still do better; But more taxes could kill the industry The Nation Economist, Sunday 26 August 2007 | See Print version I have to say that JHU does not know economics. What is the rationale behind taxing the only sector that is growing? The industry is giving government enormous amount of revenue. Twenty percent of every mobile rupee goes to the government. If you squeeze the goose for more eggs the goose will ultimately die.