Telekom Malaysia increases investment in Sri Lanka by US$ 90 million
Highway development discussions on

by Brian Tissera
Telekom Malaysia, the owning company of MTN networks (Dialog GSM) signed an agreement yesterday with the Board of Investment (BOI) to commence the seventh phase of the expansion programme with an investment of US 90 million (Rs. 9 billion).

Addressing the media on the occasion of the signing of the agreement Chairman Telekom Malaysia Radzi Mansor said that with this investment his company’s stake in its fully owned subsidiary is now close to US$ 200 million (Rs. 20 billion).

Mansor further said that having started up operations as the fourth player in 1995, they are now the market leader. Dialog GSM has also planned to increase its present customer base of a near 600,000 customers to between 850,000 to 900,000 and be the largest operator in Sri Lanka.

Chairman/Director General of BOI, Arjunna Mahendran said that negotiations are being held with the Malaysian Government on developing Sri Lanka’s network of highways and finality would be reached on the logistics of this project within the next few weeks, probably by the end of May 2003.

The government has also decided that the facility of the GSM spectrum will be auctioned through public bids rather than being awarded. Part of the investment being brought in by Telekom Malaysia will be utilized to bid for spectrum rights and also for use of the dual bandwidths of 900 and 1800 which would ease congestion and also facilitate more value added services, Dialog’s CEO/Director Hans Wijesuriya said.

Speaking further Chairman Telekom Malaysia said that overall the altitude of Malaysian businessmen towards investment in Sri Lanka is bullish and favourable. Despite constraints experienced at the initial stages the returns on the investment have been favourable and in accordance with the expectations of the parent company.

The outlook for Sri Lanka is exciting and the benefits both for the state and the people of Sri Lanka is promising, Mansor added.