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  • From "Sri Lanka Telecom Brief," by Ken Zita and Akash Kapur of Network Dynamics Inc., presented at the US Trade Development Agency's South Asia Communications Infrastructure Conference, New Delhi, India (21-23 April 2004):
    "...There is also ongoing discussion about delicensing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. These bands are currently licensed, but with the spread of Wi-Fi (and other unregulated services) around the world, Sri Lanka seems ready to liberalize allocation procedures somewhat. It seems unsure, however, whether the TRC will go for a total delicensing. More likely is an initial delicensing of indoor use (with transmit powers kept below 200mW), with perhaps a somewhat more liberal licensing regime for outdoor services (in particular, the 5 GHz band might be delicensed for rural telecenter use). The TRC is also in the process of clearing some bands in the 2.4 GHz range, as frequencies above 2.43 GHz are currently being used by other operators..."
  • "Spectrum Allocation for Short-Range Devices," Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka. Only indoor/on-premise use of WiFi is permitted, with "Licencing fee as per the Gazette No: 929/10."
  • "Report on study of options for the greater use of Wi-Fi and other unregulated applications," by DJ Consulting Services Ltd. and Quotient Associates for the Ministry of Economic Reform, Science and Technology, 31 March 2003 (29 pages in English): "...we therefore recommend that the whole band between 2.400 and 2.485 GHz be freed up for unregulated applications" - after a period of (3?) years to let current licensees who cannot operate in a shared environment migrate to other bands.
  • "Consultation Document: Making 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Radio Frequency Bands available for the use of Licence Excempt Terminals," Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (11 July 2003). No decision on this consultation question was found on the TRC website, but TRC proposed options ranging from "licensed indoor use only" to "unlicensed outdoor use permitted". The consultation document notes that
    "According to the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act No. 25 of 1991 as amended by Act No. 27 of 1996 Section 22, no person shall use any radio frequency or any radio frequency emitting apparatus in Sri Lanka except under the authority of a licence issued by TRCSL..."
  • A further consultation on the 5 GHz band was launched on 16 May 2006, with the deadline for receiving comments by 19 May (this may be a world record for the briefest consultation period ever). According to the consultation document all WLANs in the 5 GHz band are to be licensed.
  • "Wi-Fi Survey, Sri Lanka," US Embassy Colombo, 5 May 2003: "...At the moment Wi-Fi is a licensed service and allowed in the 2.4GHz and 2.43GHz band. Sri Lanka has not allocated unlicensed radio frequency spectrum for Wi-Fi or any similar technologies. Sri Lanka is planning to allocate the full 2.4GHz ISM band for indoor and part of 2.4GHz ISM band for outdoor use with certain power level restrictions in both categories. Telecommunications authorities are exploring the possibility of making this license-exempt either for private or commercial use or both. But no decision has been made yet... Presently, Wi-Fi systems cannot be used without a license. The applicant should forward an application form with the copy of specifications. If technical details are satisfactory, approval will be given and an annual license is issued upon the payment of a fee... Can Wi-Fi systems be used for commercial purposes without a license? No ...Are there any commercial Wi-Fi networks that provide service to the public currently operating in host country? Yes... Currently, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission does not permit unlicensed operation in [the] 2.4GHz band. License operators are permitted to use [802.1lb] equipment with 30 MHz slot from 2.4 GHz to 2.43 GHz on shared basis. The licensees fall into 3 groups. (1.) Four facility-based data operators are using this and other technologies to provide public (commercial) data services, primarily Internet access. The maximum allowable output power for this category is limited to 1 Watt. This is for longer distance outdoor applications. (2.) Four other large organizations are authorized to use the same 30Mhz band with a maximum power of 100mW. These users are permitted to use external antenna and allowed to transmit within their premises. (3.) Other small users are allowed to use this equipment within (the above mentioned) 30Mhz band with a maximum power of 100mW and are not permitted to use other antennas except the original equipment antennas."
  • "Proposed National Communications Policy," Ministry of Mass Communication, September 2002.
  • Achieving Good Governance Provision of Service Information to the General Public (January 2000, in English), 52 pages. Included are radio license obligations, and application forms for different types of radio license - even a "Licence to Operate a Pair of Toy Walkie Talkies."
  • "The Sri Lankan government's broadcast stranglehold, by Nalaka Gunawardene, AsiaMedia, 17 November 2006: " The highly discretionary broadcast licensing system has always lacked transparency, accountability and consistency from the time private broadcasting was first permitted in 1992. Since then, several governments have been in office, and while election manifestos regularly promised the creation of a broadcasting authority, such a body has not yet materialised. By default, broadcasting is still governed by the laws and regulations that were used to set up state-owned radio and TV stations decades ago. These laws allow state-owned stations to regulate their competitors in the private sector... Both the main political parties have given out radio and TV licenses to family members or friends... Some broadcast licenses have changed hands for millions of dollars. But whatever the price, all licenses can be revoked or cancelled by the government at any time without reason. It's the Sword of Damocles that hangs over all privately owned radio and TV stations..."

Asia - Regional Overview