The central government owns and operates all telephone, telegraph, cable and radio facilities, except in a few rural districts, which are served by private exchanges. The national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fibre-optic links are now in use in the Colombo area and two fixed wireless local loops have been installed. Competition is strong in mobile cellular systems but the tele-density rate remains as low as 16.6 phone lines per 100 persons, as of 2004. Reflected cellular phone tele-density is misleading because some people have more than one phone. Therefore true tele-density remains at a very low figure. Domestic telephone service is reportedly inadequate, while international service is good.
The government operates both commercial and noncommercial radio broadcasting services in Sinhala, Tamil and English and began television service in 1982. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation airs broadcasts on AM, FM and shortwave. As of 2007, there were 15 AM, 52 FM and 4 shortwave radio stations, and 14 television stations. In 2000, there were 208 radios and 111 television sets for every 1,000 people. In 2001, Internet service was available through about five service providers, who were serving 121,500 subscribers that year. ADSL was only introduced to Sri Lanka in 2003 by provider Sri Lanka Telecom.
Telephones - main lines in use
2.742 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular
7.983 million (2007)
general assessment: telephone services have improved significantly and are available in most parts of the country
domestic: national trunk network consists mostly of digital microwave radio relay; fibre-optic links now in use in Colombo area and 2 fixed wireless local loops have been installed; competition is strong in mobile cellular systems and mobile cellular subscribership is increasing; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is about 50 per 100 persons
international: country code - 94; the SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cables provide connectivity to Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe, US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations
AM 15, FM 52, shortwave 4 (2007)
Television broadcast stations
Internet country code