Cellular Services

Cellular telephone services in Sri Lanka began in 1989 as first generation (1G) analog network based on the Total Access Communication System (TACS) standard in the 900MHz band. Analogue cellular services in the 800MHz band were introduced in the early 1990’s based on the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) standard. Subsequently, the second generation (2G) digital system, Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) was introduced in the mid 1990’s to overcome the capacity limitations of the analog systems. The first spectrum allocation for GSM was made in the 900MHz band.

2G mobile networks can only cater for voice and low speed data (9.6kbps) transmissions while second and half generation (2.5G) services such as General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) can offer transmission speeds up to 15kbps to meet the market demand.

Customer demand for high speed services such as video calling and high speed Internet access lies with the third generation (3G) systems which will offer data rates up to 2 Mbps and hence will be able to deliver enhanced multimedia and high resolution video services.

By considering the significant user benefits in 3G systems, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) facilitated the introduction of the 3G mobile services in appropriate time, to be the first in South Asia to offer 3G services. The evolving technology for 3G is called High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), 3.5G systems, also deployed on top of the existing 3G networks, and become the first in South Asia to offer 3.5G services.

Sri Lanka introduced 4G technology in 2013