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Shaping the digital landscape

Chief executive officer’s review

The demands and challenges of 2020 were successfully met because SLT was strategy-driven. It also gave us time to reflect on the innovations needed to steer SLT forward.

The pandemic altered livelihoods, the world of work, and relationships throughout 2020. However, digital connectivity made transitioning to the new normal a possibility and so the demands SLT met throughout the year were numerous. While we already had the necessary digital infrastructure in place, the opportunities and challenges that the year presented, gave us time to reflect on the innovations needed to steer SLT forward.

During the pandemic, SLT provided innovative communications solutions for hospitals, emergency services, national operation centres and other front-line services providers. Cutting-edge AI-based analytics, AI-assisted diagnosis solutions, video collaborative solutions, and mobile health services contributed towards the containment, identification and testing requirements of the healthcare sector. Given that the pandemic also critically affected SMEs, SLT gave many concessions and relief packages to customers who have been with the Company for decades. Moreover, online education revolutionised the concept of schooling for children across the island. For some, education became a very distant reality as well. Identifying the needs of the hour, SLT came up with innovative solutions for diverse customer requirements.

All these efforts are in line with the Government’s vision for a digitalised nation. We have continued to be a pioneering entity with a solid aim of transforming our Nation through cutting-edge technology inspired solutions to enhance the quality of life of people by creating a culture of Technological Innovation. By developing the vertical applications for industries through the network infrastructure connectivity and the hosting environment developed through Data Centre and Cloud, we are well positioned to offer a plethora of services that facilitate the growth trajectory of Sri Lanka, embracing a digital lifestyle. The SLT Group has also taken on the mammoth task of furnishing rural areas with superior connectivity solutions to make digital inclusion a reality.

Sri Lanka is a small nation and the scale of its network is insignificant when compared to India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The scale of the network and economies of scale in these countries are high, so we must invest more per unit (byte) compared to other markets. Investing large amounts and offering lower broadband tariffs continues to be a challenge. We need to maintain a steady cash flow, nurture our staff, and conduct CSR activities while providing competitive prices for our growing customer base.

The demands and challenges of 2020 were successfully met because SLT was strategy-driven. We continued to work towards providing premium fibre broadband technology to 2 million homes by 2023. With our mobile arm Mobitel, we are developing 4G and 5G networks to offer fixed wireless broadband services and mobile broadband services and industry vertical solutions to all customer segments. Our objective is to provide superior services for B2B, B2C, and B2G, which includes all consumers, businesses and Government institutions. We also continue to stay connected to the rest of the world through our submarine, undersea cable systems which are high speed fibre optic cables which connects Far East Asia, South Asia, Western Europe, and the Middle East. We have also invested in Atlantic crossing and Pacific crossing. SLT has established Points of Presence (PoPs) in countries such as Singapore, the Middle East, Hong Kong, Europe and North America. Moreover, we are planning to expand our reach by widening our scope to emerging markets such as Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, and Indonesia as well. These efforts are guided by the five pillars of digital transformation spearheaded by SLT – the digital vision for Sri Lanka, digital government, digital economy, digital infrastructure, and digital inclusivity to create the Smart Sri Lanka of the future.

We have our sights set on both local and global markets. Nearly two thirds of the world’s population are part of the APAC (Asia Pacific) and we feel connectivity needs to be improved to a greater extent. There are a lot of opportunities in global connectivity, solution business, data hosting, Cloud and digital areas we hope to explore further during the upcoming year.

As we step into a brand new year, we remain faithful to our commitment to innovate and nurture the talent within the Company. Throughout a challenging year, we cared for our employees whose dedication and commitment enabled SLT to function smoothly. None of our 10,000 employees were affected – we didn’t downsize or give pay cuts. Rather we boosted their confidence by investing in their growth within the Company and attracting young and new talent.

Therefore, I would first like to thank our dedicated staff and trade unions who with the support of the Board of Directors helped SLT grow during a very challenging year. It is their commitment and spirit of innovation that made the year remarkable for all of us at SLT. I also wish to thank our numerous stakeholders – especially those who continued to support and partner with us. Fortified by these solid relationships, I would like to affirm that SLT is well equipped to fast track Sri Lanka’s transformation into a digital nation.


K A Kiththi Perera
Chief Executive Officer

9 March 2021