The growth of Sri Lankan mobile subscription




Mobile subscription has seen a rapid growth over the last two decades in Sri Lanka. The impact of mobile phones hit so hard it even surpassed the purchasing power barriers in the country. In fact every Sunil, Sarath and Siripala started owning one, regardless of their profession of being a fisherman or a city limit “tuk tuk” driver.


But contrary to popular belief, mobile phone subscription GROWTH % has been on the decline over the past few years. As in, though it’s still growing, it’s growing at a declining rate. The percentage growth from 2004 to 2006 was recorded 146% which deteriorated to 105% between 2006 to 2008. The next couple of years between 2008 to 2010 saw a growth of 56% which plummeted to 18% between 2010 to 2012. Will this fall down to a single digit number by the end of 2014?


According to TRCSL, the total mobile subscription as of 2012 was 20,324,070. That’s almost equal to the current population of 20,869,000. Does this mean that every Sumith has a mobile phone in his pocket? Well, not exactly. Though the number of subscriptions is somewhat accurate, the number of individuals owning it is not the same, because it does not account the same person owning 2 to 3 connections at the same time.


Dividing the mobile subscriptions total by the average number of connections per person would derive a slight idea of the “mobile phone literate” population; for example 20,324,070 / 2.5 = 8,129,628. But does this necessarily mean that 8,129,628 people are using mobile phones? Well, not exactly, as the total number of mobile subscriptions released by TRCSL is not exclusive to actively used connections; for example an average user might be holding 3 connections registered under one NIC, but the “actively in use” connection might be just one (the other two lying idle in the drawer!).



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