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|March 11, 1998||
Lanka's private phone company hikes charges by 80%Sri Lanka's telecommunications regulator today allowed the country's newly privatised phone company to raise its call charges and rentals by as much as 80 per cent but rejected a request to reduce installation charges.
Sri Lanka Telecom, whose 35 per cent stake is owned by Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, will increase the tariff from April with peak time call charges going up by 30 per cent, the head of the regulatory
He said SLT called for a 90 per cent increase in monthly phone rentals but was allowed an increase from the present Rs 100 ($1.66) a month to Rs 180 ($3), or an 80 per cent hike.
However, there will be a near 9 per cent reduction in international call rates, Samarajiva said.
The regulatory commission rejected a key demand by SLT to lower phone installation charges by 23 per cent to Rs 10,000 ($166) to remain competitive with two fixed wireless local loop operators.
An SLT representative said newly established WLL operators with investments and expertise from Telia of Sweden and Bell Canada, would have an unfair advantage over them because of the regulator's latest ruling.
"We want to reduce installation charges so that we can give more connections and thereby generate extra revenue from the increased volume of calls," an SLT representative said.
He said while the regulator imposed lower limits on installation charges by SLT, the other WLL operators were offering cheaper phones and taking away high-users from the Sri Lanka Telecom Network.
WLL operators said they would not increase their rates from April, effectively making them cheaper than SLT.
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