Chulananda Perera, Secretary, Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry and Dialog Axiaata Group CEO Supun Weerasinghe exchange agreements in the presence of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando and Deputy Minister Manusha Nanayakkara while (from left) Vinod Samarawickrama, Ericsson Telecommunication Lanka, Sri Lanka and Maldives, Nunzio Mirtillo, Group Senior Vice President and Head-Asia Oceania & India, Ericsson, Todd Ashton, President, Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Pradeep De Almeida, Group Chief Technology Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC and Anthony Rodrigo, Group Chief Innovation Officer, Dialog Axiata PLC look on
Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, in partnership with Ericsson—the world leader in communications technology and services—along with the Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Ministry, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish Sri Lanka’s first state-of-the-art 5G innovation centre.
The first of its kind in the country, the innovation centre will encourage Sri Lankans to collaborate and create next generation IoT and ICT innovations and serve the country’s digital footprint through strategic partnerships, stimulating entrepreneurship and facilitating a collaborative shared learning environment.
The occasion was graced by Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando, Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Deputy Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, Secretary, Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, Chulananda Perera, Dialog Axiata PLC Group CEO Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, Group Chief Innovation Officer Anthony Rodrigo and the leadership team of Ericsson headed by Nunzio Mirtillo, Group Senior Vice President & Head-Adia Oceania and India.
The MoU will explore the possibilities of 5G and IoT enabling various stakeholders such as the community and different verticals to carve out new innovative solutions. On the road to finalising the 5G national agenda and programme implementation by the government, the innovation centre aims to improve efficiency, innovation and productivity and create new opportunities for capacity building in emerging 5G technology.
The setting up of the 5G innovation centre will be underpinned by investments exceeding Rs.500 million in connectivity, equipment and infrastructure. “We are proud to partner Dialog and Ericsson to advance technology in the country through the set-up of a 5G Innovation Centre, earmarked on the Ministry’s roadmap. On the brink of exponential change through digitalisation, the innovation centre will help accelerate an entrepreneurial and research culture in the country,” Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando said.
“The youth uptake of digital innovation based projects and developments in Sri Lanka are phenomenal, and this would prove a great way to encourage more students to innovate using technology,” he added.
The 5G innovation centre will link Dialog and Ericsson technology and capabilities with likeminded partners into a single framework for local application developers and content providers. Research and development will be a collaborative effort between local universities together with cooperation from the global sphere. Researchers and entrepreneurs will have the ability to design/develop programmes and prototypes and use the Innovation Centre as a test lab for verification. Further the facility will enable developers, mobile users, academia and eco-system partners to test 5G capabilities and inter-operability on site.
Sharing his thoughts on the collaboration Vinod Samarawickrama, Managing Director/Country Manager, Ericsson Telecommunication Lanka said, “5G will be a critical national infrastructure in digitalising the economy and capturing the vision of a fully connected society. 5G is a platform for innovation. We look forward to establishing the centre together with Dialog, who was instrumental in trialing 5G for the first time in South Asia last year. The Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment will play a key role in driving the national mandate to build a digital and connected Sri Lanka.”
“The 5G Innovation Centre is another milestone in Dialog’s Technology leadership as we prepare to commercially launch 5G, ahead of the rest of South Asia. 5G sets a capable environment to help fast track IoT developments along with next generation video and robot/manufacturing automation. Advancing the transformational technology of 5G in Sri Lanka will enable exciting possibilities across education, health, agriculture and manufacturing and also harness entrepreneurship and provide a spring board for in-country talent,” Dialog Axiata PLC Group CEO Supun Weerasinghe said.