Telecoms sector will drive sustainable growth: Hans

Thursday, 3 September 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Asserts data pricing structures would require correction in the face of voice to data conversion and emergence of OTTs

LEAD-PICDialog Axiata Group CEO Hans Wijayasuriya being 

interviewed by OBG

The techno-economic transformation of the telecoms industry in Sri Lanka will come in the form of accelerated data growth, emergence of OTT threats, structural correction in data pricing, active infrastructure sharing beyond towers, and industry consolidation, the CEO of Dialog Axiata, said. 

Dialog Group CEO Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya told the international publishing, research and consultancy firm, Oxford Business Group (OBG) that the biggest challenge the country currently faces is less than viable data pricing levels driven by hyper-competition.

“Pricing has been driven down to levels that will be challenged to sustain large-scale investments required to support broadband growth in the long run. There is certainly room for industry collaboration and/or consolidation, in terms of moving towards a data-optimised cost structure and rational pricing,” he said.

Wijayasuriya highlighted that operators are building out expansive data networks but not currently recovering the cost. “This formula will not work in the long run, and again is attributable to competition driven data pricing structures which have hitherto ignored the growing phenomenon of voice to data substitution,” he warned. 

However, he is optimistic regarding the growth in the telecoms sector and recalled that Sri Lanka “has one of the most advanced and inclusive telecoms sectors in the region. Sri Lanka’s mobile telecommunications sector in particular has scored many firsts including the regions first 4G commercial deployment and also boasts of the lowest data tariffs in the world. Provided the sector doesn’t trip up on short termism and aims at cementing long term sustainability, it will be poised for long-term growth.”

“Dialog in particular has been very focused on the themes of digital empowerment and an inclusive approach in the telecoms space,” he added. “We are strong proponents of using information and communications, ICT, to bridge asymmetries in access and affordability, with respect to information, education, entertainment, commerce, health and other basic forms of citizen empowerment.”

Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya’s full interview will appear in the Information and Communications chapter of the first edition of The Report: Sri Lanka 2016, the Group’s guide to the country’s economic activity and investment opportunities.

The forthcoming investment guide on Sri Lanka will contain a wide range of contributions from leading representatives, such as President Maithripala Sirisena, Softlogic Holdings Chairman Ashok Pathirage, Hayleys Chairman and CEO Mohan Pandithage and others.

The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 will contain a detailed sector-by sector analysis with an emphasis on the most significant economic segments. It will assess trends and developments across the economy including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication will be available in print or online. 

Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global publishing, research and consultancy firm, which publishes economic intelligence on the markets of the Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. Through its range of print and online products, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments, including banking, capital markets, insurance, energy, transport, industry and telecoms. The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 is produced with research assistance from Board of Investment Sri Lanka (BOI).

The critically acclaimed economic and business reports have become the leading source of business intelligence on developing countries in the regions they cover. OBG’s online economic briefings provide up-to-date in-depth analysis on the issues that matter for tens of thousands of subscribers worldwide. OBG’s consultancy arm offers tailor-made market intelligence and advice to firms currently operating in these markets and those looking to enter them.