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SLT continues to control international traffic a year after liberalisation.
Dominating International Traffic
Sri Lanka offers IDD Services to 226 countries. This is done through bilateral agreements with some 80 telecom operators in 50 countries around the world. Relationships with some of these telecom operators are more than 100 years old.

In these six years SLT has considerably strengthened its international network with a view to enhancing its global connectivity and international traffic routes. Its current network consists of three gateway exchanges, two cable landing stations, three satellite earth stations and one mobile earth station. This network is supplemented by the access that SLT has to two submarine cables: SEA-ME-WE IIand SEA-ME-WE III.

Also in 2002 SLT signed an agreement with Bharti Telesonic of India, a leading mobile operator in India in a bid to strengthen traffic between the two countries. Interconnection will be provided through SEA-ME-WE III and Network i2i in Singapore.

The Company’s international operations will be strengthened by the establishment of points of presence outside Sri Lanka to offer termination, hubbing and transit services to overseas telecommunications service providers.

Partnering a Optical Fibre Submarine Cable

In 2002 SLT entered into an agreement with international operators to collaborate on the construction of a new SEA-ME-WE IV submarine cable. SLT hosted SEA-ME-WE IV management meetings in Decemeber 2003 in Sri Lanka and SLT signed the multiparty agreement with 16 international partners to the next generation submarine cabling system for high speed data communication which is expected go into operation in 2005.

A fresh Challenge from the New EGOs
Thirty two External Gateway Operator (EGO) licences were issued in 2003. This is a further phase in the process of deregulation. However, only a few of these are currently in operation. As a consequence international calling rate were reduced drastically. Revenue from international outgoing calls dropped immediately. We are proud to note though that this was only temporary and in a matter of 9 months revenue levels stabilised through an aggressive marketing campaigns. Although rates have come down, volume has increased progressively and that has helped stabilise revenue levels in the medium term. SLT continues to control international traffic a year after liberalisation.

In today’s competitive market one has to be proactive and dynamic to survive. We cannot rest on our achievements of the past few years but need to constantly look for new business opportunities. The international calling market is a growing one and shows lots of potential. Steady economic growth is likely to help expand this market to its full potential.

SLT’s Passport Card: Exceeding all Expectations
SLT regenerated its Passport Card in June 2003 with an intense marketing campaign. This was launched to offer consumers a unique international calling package and stimulate international traffic. Its impact has exceeded all expectations and SLT has been hard pressed to meet the demand.

A unique feature of the Passport card is that an IDD facility is not needed. Any phone will do. Pre paid calling cards allows a good credit control and permits consumers to regulate their calling time precisely. This flexibility has attracted a large number of customers.

The success of the Passport Card is also linked to the high voice quality that the product offers, in comparison to other cards and the value for money that comes with it. The voice quality is on par with the conventional IDD calls. There are no hidden costs and you get what you pay for.

In addition to the Passport Card, SLT lso introduced an ‘Extra Time' Card to respond to the needs of cost conscious customers. It ‘out’ competes other inferior cards on the market by providing better voice quality at better price.

Heights unknown: The Sigiri Card

Like the Passport Card, the Sigiri Card has also exceeded all expectations. The Sigiri Calling Card allows consumers in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to call Sri Lanka at rates that are among the lowest in those countries.

The Sigiri Card was a direct and ‘front end action’ marketing strategy that went aggressively to those markets where traffic was originating.

Because we offered a ‘state-of-the-art’ ‘value for money’ product the Sigiriya Card has had exceptional success. Like the Passport Card the voice quality is exceptional and compares with any other international calling cards. The Sigiri Card now accounts for nearly 35% of the international voice traffic into Sri Lanka on the SLT network.

The product also allows calls within the group of 11 countries. Thus it is possible for a Sri Lankan based in the United Kingdom to call his family in Canada. However, the rates are not as competitive as the rates from any of these countries to Sri Lanka.

Reviving the Rameshwaran - Talaimannar Microwave Link
The radio communication link between Rameswaran and Talaimannar was first established in 1981 and was instrumental in facilitating telecommunication links between India and Sri Lanka during the eighties. The link was operational till the late eighties.

In 2003 the microwave link was recommissioned as a result of an agreement SLT signed with BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited). The microwave link will automatically connect to Madurai and Colombo through separate Rameshwaran - Madurai links and Talaimannar - Colombo links.

BSNL is the seventh largest telecommunications company in the world and has a customer base of 43 million. The link will facilitate traffic between the two countries and make Sri Lanka a hub in South Asia for international traffic. As a result of the link SLT will be able to offer attractive rates for Indian telecommunications traffic generated by BSNL. In addition to better rates the link will provide better quality and bigger bandwidth.
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