LTE Networks and Phones in Sri Lanka

As you know both Dialog & Mobitel have launched 4G mobile networks in Sri Lanka. Colombo & many other major cities around island are already covered by 4G networks and the coverage is expected to be expanding rapidly. Dialog claims up to 50Mbps download speeds while Mobitel has shown up to 96Mbps download speeds. However average download speeds likely be lower but would be much higher than the existing 3G HSPA+ speeds. Both Mobitel & Dialog support 1800 MHz Band 3 devices.

Data speed differences of 2.5G, 2.75G, 3G, 3.5G 3.75G and 4G

2.5G technology (also known as GPRS) can provide for speeds up to 56Kbps. 2.75G (also known as EDGE) is an enhancement of the 2.5G technology which can provide for up to 120 Kbps. 3G (also known as WCDMA) speeds up to 384Kbps. 3.5G (also known as HSPA) can provide for  speeds up to 14.4 Mbps. And 3.75G (also known as HSPA+) is an enhancement of 3.5G technology that can generate  up to 42 Mbps. The latest, 4G (also known as LTE) can provide for speeds up to 1Gbps.

Samsung Galaxy Express – a lower-end 4G LTE phone

Mobile 4G Network Coverage

Dialog as of August 2013

  • Colombo city
  • Jaffna Town
  • Kandy Town
  • Negombo Town
  • Wattala Town
  • Gampaha Town
  • Kurunegala Town
  • Galle Town

Mobitel as of August 2013

  • Colombo city
  • Jaffna Town
  • Kandy Town
  • Hambanthota Town
  • Galle Town
  • Matara Town
  • Kalutara Town

4G LTE Phone Models

There are many 4G  LTE 1800MHz supported phones are already available in the local market. Some of the popular models and average prices (in August 2013) are given below:

As you can see you 4G phone prices range from Rs.38,000 to 88,000. However some of the Galaxy S4 LTE models do not support Dialog/Mobitel 4G networks due to some technical issue in ROM which can be resolved with the use of an additional software such as “4G Switch” downloaded from Google Play. However 4G is still not available for iPhone 5. As Apple has not yet opened LTE services to Sri Lanka. when it does, Apple iPhone 5 LTE devices operating on 1800Mhz Band 3 should be able to enjoy 4G.

Sony Xperia V – another comparatively low cost 4G phone

Both operators will require users to obtain a new SIM card to use 4G services. Most of the existing data packages will be entitled to be used with 4G speeds. However since you get higher speeds, it is likely that your data usage will also increase. Most of the mobile users are expected to use 4G networks mostly in video streaming. You may set up your mobile phone as a portable WiFi hotspot for internet sharing with laptops etc.

Both operators offer 4G USB dongles (Huawei E3276 4G) for a cost of around Rs.15,000. These prices are likely to come down in time to come.

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