Apr 202014
Dialog Axiata to invest US $ 30mn on new submarine cable
Dialog Axiata PLC, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata Group said, it will invest US $ 30 million on a new sub marine cable and has entered into an agreement with Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) Consortium to establish a Cable Landing Station in South Colombo (Mount Lavinia, off De Saram Road).

The BBG submarine cable system, spanning approximately 8,000 km will link Sri Lanka and the region, spanning from Singapore to Oman/ UAE to high capacity Internet hubs in Singapore and India and to onward submarine cable pipes to Europe and the USA.

The project is expected to be fully commissioned by the end of 2014.

Other investors of BBG consortium include Telekom Malaysian Berhard (Malaysia), Vodafone Group (UK), Reliance Jlo Infocom Limited (India), Oman Telecommunications Company (Oman) and Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (UAE).

Commenting on Dialog’s investment Dialog Axiata Group Chief Executive Dr.Hans Wijayasuriya said, “Dialog’s investment in a submarine cable system leads on from our aggressive commitment to deliver the fastest and most advanced telecommunications technology to Sri Lanka and to make the downstream benefits of these technologies affordable and accessible to all Sri Lankan citizens.

The recent commissioning of our 4G services overlaid on our advanced 3G HSPA+ and fibre optic infrastructure reaching all districts of Sri Lanka will empower Sri Lankan consumers and businesses with the power of high speed connectivity. Our investment in a Cable Landing Station and submarine connectivity to the global Internet, infuse further speed and capacity to our broadband offerings spanning enterprise, retail and wholesale solutions.”

Apr 012014
Wijeya Newspapers partners Wow.lk to form largest interactive classified portal
Dialog Axiata PLC’ s Chief Digital Services Officer, Anthony Rodrigo, exchanging the agreement with Udesh Gunatunga, Director, Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Also in the picture are Chinthana Jayasekera, Head – Mobile Commerce, Loyalty, & Partner Management, Dialog Axiata, Sidath Chandrasena – Senior General Manager, Digital Commerce & Advertising, Dialog Axiata, Reeza Zarook Director of Digital Commerce Lanka. Gehan Blok, Head of Digital Media and Umair Wolid –Marketing Manager – Digital Media of Wijeya Newspapers Limited.

Wijeya Newspapers Limited owned Hit Ad and Lahipita, Sri Lanka’s largest classified giants joined hands with Dialog’s wow. lk, to create the country’s largest interactive mobile and web-based classifieds portal.

Hitad.lk is the online edition of Sri Lanka’s most popular weekend classified supplement, where users can advertise their products and services using SMS, USSD or the web. In addition, the SMS matching alerts allows the advertiser to engage with Dialog’s 8.7 million mobile subscribers who will receive instant matching alerts via SMS once an ad is published, connecting buyers and sellers within a matter of minutes.

The partnership will transform the online classified ads space in the country, as users avail themselves of unique customized high-end features that will deliver affordable and convenient solutions to all their buying and sellingneeds. The service is offered free to most categories, whilst premium offerings and filtering is provided for paid categories.

Dialog Axiata PLC’s Chief Digital Services Officer, Anthony Rodrigo said: “This partnership between two of Sri Lanka’s leading online players in the trade and classified ad space will transform consumer experience. The Dialog Digital Services team is committed to innovate the online space as it allows us to drive greater reach and proffer unique tailored solutions that cater to online consumers, plus, it gives us the flexibility to extend services that have been essentially curtailed to niche audience, to the masses. I am confident that this association will add significant value to businesses in Sri Lanka.”

“The technological expertise and network of Dialog and the online capabilities of Wow.lk combined with the strength of the HitAd brand and the business insights Wijeya brings into the partnership makes us confident that HitAd Online can make a very real impact in the online classifieds advertising space. The partnership will employ innovative technology features to provide a complete end-to-end service to the customer which is a first in Sri Lanka,” remarked Udesh Gunatunga, Director, Wijeya Newspapers Limited.

Users can avail of this service by logging on to hitad.lk or by simply dialing #289# and selecting Hitad. They can also type SUB and send to 289 via SMS to register for this service. The matching alerts service is only available to Dialog mobile users.

Dec 132013
Dialog becomes Apple iPhone partner in Sri Lanka
Dialog Axiata PLC announced it will offer iPhone 5s, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, and iPhone 5c, the most colorful iPhone yet, to customers from today (December 13). The announcement follows Dialog being appointed the first and only Authorised Partner and Service Provider for Apple iPhone in Sri Lanka.

Following the establishment of the partnership between Apple and Dialog, 4G compatible Apple iPhones can now be connected on 4G mode to Dialog’s 4G LTE network. Accordingly, Dialog’s 4G and 3G HSPA+ networks will provide Apple users with unparalleled connectivity and a superior smart phone experience.

Dialog will retail a range of Apple iPhones spanning 5S, 5C and 4S models through its expansive network of customer service centres across Sri Lanka. All iPhones retailed through the Dialog network will carry a 1 Year Apple Care Warranty. Dialog will extend expert customer care and technical support for the Apple iPhone from across its service network for the convenience of Apple users in Sri Lanka.

Aug 042013
Mobile and Pay TV push Dialog profits up
Dialog Axiata PLC, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata group, posted a net profit of Rs.950.3 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2013 (2Q13) against Rs.879.5 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, boosted by higher revenues across Mobile and Pay TV segments.

Group revenue during the quarter crossed Rs.15.6 billion, surpassing a previous Rs.14.1 billion in 2012, while net finance costs declined from Rs.1.02 billion to Rs.902.7 million.

Meanwhile, over the first half of this year (1H13), group profits were posted at Rs.2.54 billion, up from a previous Rs.348.5 million.

The firm said it was hit by an Rs.856 loss on foreign exchange loans but it received a Rs.429 million Telecom Development Charge refund from the regulator.

Revenue from mobile operations grew by 13 percent year-onyear (YoY) to Rs.27.1 billion during 1H13, while fixed broadband and television operations posted turnovers of Rs.2.9 billion and Rs.1.72 billion, respectively.

However, earnings before taxes in the Pay TV segment contracted 23 percent YoY to Rs.298 million during the half, as a result of costs related to the enhancement of services, including High-definition services.

Notably, Dialog’s Pay TV subscriber base grew by over 49,000 subscribers YoY to be recorded at 288,000 total subscribers at the end of Q213.

Meanwhile, the group’s Internet segment recorded a loss after tax of Rs.97 million, cutting down on last year’s Rs.186 million loss.

Earnings per share remained relatively flat at Rs.0.119 as compared with Rs.0.110 per share in the previous year.

Jun 132013
Cricket Sri Lanka: SLC sign a 3-year deal with Tea Board and Dialog Axiata

Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) is still recovering from the massive losses that it incurred during the 2011 World Cup. Paucity of funds was rankling the board big time and they were literally struggling for survival. But thanks to the new sponsorship deal that the board inked with the Sri Lanka Tea Board and telecommunication company Dialog Axiata, the board can not only breathe easy but can also hope to promote cricket in the country with the surplus.

The board signed up for the new 3-year sponsorship deal on the “home and away” basis. While the Sri Lanka Tea Board will be the primary sponsor of Sri Lanka cricket in all their away matches, Telecommunications major Dialog Axiata will be the sponsor for all their home matches. While the Tea Borad shelled out Sri Lankan Rupees 530 million (approx. US$ 4.15 million) to close the deal, Dialog    are understood to have paid around Sri Lankan Rupees 700 million (approx. US $5.47 million).

Important point to be noted here is that both Dialog and the Tea Board had actually bid for the total rights of both home and away matches. Infact, Dialog had actually bid considerably higher than the Tea Board and logically they should have won the “total rights”. However,  SLC sought a compromise in order to accommodate greater national interests and in the process allowed the Tea Board to hold the rights for all away games. The Tea Board is a goverment owned entity that produces and promotes tea in the country which is indeed Sri Lanka’s pride alongwith its cricket.

The Tea Board’s sponsorship starts with the Tri-series in the West Indies that begins on June 28. India is the third side in the series. Plantation Industries Minister of Sri Lanka Mahinda Samarasinghe said “Sri Lankan Tea and the national cricket team has been able to bring honour and fame to the country. We are proud to sponsor Sri Lanka Cricket “.

The deal comes as a new lease of life for SLC as they will receive more than 100% of the amount that was paid by the previous team sponsor in the previous three-year cycle. Let’s HOPE this deal turns around SLC.

May 092013
Dialog first quarter profits at Rs.1.6bn
Sri Lanka’s leading mobile services provider, Dialog Axiata PLC has posted a net profit of Rs.1.59 billion for the first quarter of FY13 against a net loss of Rs.531 million in the same quarter of the previous year, helped by reduced financial costs and tax refunds, the interim financial accounts released to the Colombo Stock Exchange showed.

Dialog, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata group, saw its revenue rising to Rs.15.2 billion during the quarter under consideration against Rs.12.8 billion the group recorded in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, thus boosting the gross profit by over Rs.1.2 billion Year-on-Year.

The group also has been able to keep its costs at moderate levels vis-à-vis the revenue increase and the earnings per share for the three months stood at 20 cents against a loss per share of 0.07 cents in 1Q12.

The group has been able to reduce its finance cost originating from US dollar loans to Rs.210 million during the quarter against Rs.2.3 billion finance cost the group reported in 1Q12.

Dialog also received a tax refund under Telecommunication Development Charge Fund amounting to Rs.1.24 billion against zero refunds in the same quarter of the previous year.

Apr 042013
Dialog Axiata awaits nod to facilitate inward remittances
In a move to further liberalize country’s foreign exchange controls, the Central Bank has granted permission to Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog) to facilitate inward remittances via mobile phone technology, according to the Exchange Controller.

“We recently granted Dialog, permission to be in the business of channeling foreign exchange remittances via mobile phone, upon request. But they are yet to receive the nod from the Payments and Settlements Department of the Central Bank”, the Exchange Controller P.H.O. Chandrawansa said.

The mobile-based inward remittance service which is expected to get off the ground within a month is expected to change the country’s foreign currency exchange landscape. Once fully operational, this will enable over 1.6 million Sri Lankan expatriate workers to send home their hard earned foreign currency with a press of a button in their mobile phones.

Dialog, building on its existing capacity in mobile-based money (known as eZ Cash introduced in June 2012) will collect the foreign currencies sent by expatriates into a custodian bank account before remitting the money to individual customer bank accounts.

Meanwhile the Senior Assistant Controller of Exchange at the Central Bank Pavithri Vithanage said they had received proposals from one other party apart from Dialog but was reluctant to disclose information due to its sensitive nature.

“At the moment we are evaluating the proposal but as the Exchange Control Department we are also concerned about possible foreign currency outflow which could happen as a result of this additional leeway provided to the mobile operators,” Vithanage noted.

“As long as the money is coming in we have no issue. But we have to be equally watchful of the possibility of foreign currency draining via this technology. Therefore we need to ensure the controls are also in place to avoid such a scenario,”she further pointed out.

At a time when the mobile phone has become an indispensable device, it will be interesting to see how the conventional money changers will receive the news and face competition from Dialog with its 7.8 million subscribers.

Sri Lanka emerging from a stringent foreign exchange regime prevailed from 1970 to1976, made notable progress in 1977, commencing significant relaxation followed by current account transaction liberalization in 1994 and (certain) capital account relaxations in 2010.

Relaxations took place in a rapid pace during 2009-2013 with simplification of accounts providing greater flexibility for non- residents investments in Sri Lanka and also for residents investing outside the borders.

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