When It Rains, It Pours – Dialog Axiata Provides 4G Mobile Coverage to Mahawilachchiya

Dialog Axiata technicians checking Dialog 4G signals inside the Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya

Dialog Axiata technicians checking Dialog 4G signals inside the Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya

When it rains, they say, it pours. That is what happened to Mahawilachchiya because of Horizon Lanka Foundation. Mahawilachchiya is (was) a backward village situated bordering the sprawling Wilpattu National Park. If the name of the village was mentioned anywhere else other than in Mahawilachchiya, it was because of it being constantly targeted by the Tamil Tigers terrorists from 1985 to 2009 till the permanent peace was achieved by defeating the entire terrorist outfit thanks to the political leadership of the former president Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. During the wartime, a numerous terrorist attacks were inflicted and the police, army and the civil security guards were injured, maimed or paid the ultimate price for the nation as a reason. A number of terrorists also were killed by the security forces. A considerable number of villagers also were either killed in cold blood and some were kidnapped and only a few could return by deceiving the terrorists. A several parents of our students also were either killed or kidnapped.

People of Mahawilachchiya was not connected to the outside world through a communication network and only the Police Station and the Post Office had limited telephone access using radio link technology. One had to wait a several hours to talk to someone at a very high price from the village post office.

When I started Horizon Lanka under a huge mango tree in my ancestral garden in 1998, there was no telephone coverage. I had to go to Colombo by spending almost a whole day to Colombo to just check emails and update our website. The distance from Mahawilachchiya to Colombo is 240 km but the bus ride on dilapidated road network in the country those days wore me out wasting the whole day on the road.

I had the luck of meeting Mr. Supun Weerasinghe from Dialog Axiata in 2002. He was then a young executive and now the CEO of Dialog Axiata, Sri Lanka’s leading telecommunication provider.  Dialog sent a team of engineers and fixed a special unit to provide mobile coverage within a 50-meter radius around Horizon Lanka’s small computer lab. That was the only place people could use their Dialog mobile phones. Then Dialog provided 2G mobile coverage to Mahawilachchiya in November, 2006. Then came the 3G. The latest addition to the line up was comprehensive 4G coverage to Mahawilachchiya from Dialog Axiata. The specialty of this is that Mahawilachchiya hamlet got all these technologies long before even bigger towns in Sri Lanka got them. The main reason to get all these new technologies to Mahawilachchiya is the existence of the Horizon Lanka Foundation and my strong links with Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya – the regional CEO for the South Asian Region of the Axiata Group Bhd., Asia’s second largest telecommunications company and Mr. Supun Weerasinghe, the young CEO of Dialog Axiata. Dialog has been a very big pillar of our success since 2002 and I hope the relationship would be even stronger in time to come as we are an organization which depends on new technology since the inception of the small English class under a tree in 1998. Dialog Axiata PLC has assisted Horizon Lanka Foundation over the years whenever we requested their assistance. Read more about it at http://www.horizonlanka.org/en/?s=Dialog+telekom&submit=Search

I thank Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake, a Sri Lankan American living in Houston, Texas, the United States for assisting me in this quest of wider mobile coverage and stronger data speed with Dialog. I also thank the whole Dialog Axiata team for being such a friendly and effective company. Extending 4G coverage to Mahawilachchiya was not in the immediate pipelines of the company priority list but the need to livestream Horizon Lanka’s annual concert, “A Rainbow of Cultures – Horizon Lanka Mega Concert – 2017” on December 31, 2017 and the planned launch of Horizon Academy website on January 01, 2018 and most importantly, the scheduled launch of Horizon Virtual Academy project that would allow anyone from anywhere in the world access both the recorded and the live ICT and language lessons from its website free of charge (only for the year 2018 – the users will have to pay an affordable subscription fee from January 2019.)

What will be in store for Mahawilachchiya next from Dialog? Maybe 5G … … … ?

Nanda Wanninayaka – Chairman & the CEO of Horizon Lanka Foundation

Dialog Axiata technicians checking Dialog 4G signals inside the Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Dialog Axiata technicians checking Dialog 4G signals inside the Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya

Improving 3G Mobile Coverage at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya by Dialog Axiata – Update 4

Horizon Academy students using internet through Dialog 3G coverage

Horizon Academy students using internet through Dialog 3G coverage

At Horizon Lanka, we use Dialog Axiata PLC‘s telecommunication solutions for voice, data and satellite TV. There was an issue with Dialog 3G coverage in Mahawilachchiya during last few weeks – maybe due to high demand for the data service – since many youths and teenagers use internet a lot now. Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake from Houston, Texas, the United States raised the issue with Mr. Supun Weerasinghe, the CEO of Dialog Axiata and the latter promptly took actions to solve the problem. They sent three technical teams to provide different solutions and the latest came last Saturday (November 11, 2017) as Dialog Axiata installed a CenRF WCDMA Pico Repeater and a enRF TriBand Yagi Antenna to strengthen the 3G coverage within the Horizon Academy building. Now we get strong 3G internet coverage inside the computer lab. It still fluctuates with going back to 2G once in a while but mostly there is good coverage within the building. We thank Dialog Axiata for installing this high-tech equipment to provide us better coverage.

Though we have stronger 3G signals within the computer lab, the rest of Mahawilachchiya still have the problem of fluctuating 3G signals between 3G and 2G. So, there are rumors that the Dialog’s high-tension tower erected at Kirial Petiyawa, Mahawilachchiya would be shifted to the center of Mahawilachchiya village so that everyone could use stronger 3G coverage. Kiral Petiyawa is situated at the edge of Mahawilachchiya and there are less people in that area as it is mostly a farming region.

Dialog Axiata PLC provided 3G coverage to the whole Mahawilachchiya village in 2009 on the request of Mr. Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation long before some bigger towns in Anuradhapura were provided the facility. Of late, some of the other mobile operators like Hutch and Mobitel also extended their 2G coverages into 3G but only small pockets of the village are covered with 3G access by them while Dialog Axiata uses two communication towers in Mahawilachchiya to provide a wider 3G coverage.

Dialog Axiata PLC has assisted Horizon Lanka Foundation over the years whenever we requested their assistance. Read more at http://www.horizonlanka.org/en/?s=Dialog+telekom&submit=Search

 

Dialog team installing CenRF TriBand Yagi Antenna at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya
Dialog team installing CenRF TriBand Yagi Antenna at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya
Dialog Axiata installing a CenRF WCDMA Pico Repeater at Horizon Academy - Mahawilachchiya.
Dialog Axiata installing a CenRF WCDMA Pico Repeater at Horizon Academy – Mahawilachchiya.

A Dedicated Internet Connection to Horizon Lanka Foundation from Dialog Axiata – Update 2

A Dedicated Internet Connection to Horizon Lanka Foundation from Dialog Axiata – Update 2

Dialog Axiata staff with the students of Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya

Since July, 2014, with the resumption of our academic activities after a lapse of 3 and half years, the Horizon Lanka Foundation is using Dialog 3G broadband internet facilities using an internet dongle to connect to the Internet. Only Dialog Axiata PLC provides decent 3G coverage to the whole Mahawilachchiya village while the other operators are covering only small pockets of the village with 3G access.

With the number of Dialog customers being increased for both voice and data, the connectivity became slow of late and it was difficult to enjoy an uninterrupted 3G coverage as the 3G facility started to switch between 3G (HSPA) and 2G (EDGE) coverage quite often and the communication was affected. It even deteriorated with the arrival of the monsoon rainy season.

So, Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake, a gentleman who works in Houston, Texas, USA was keen to have a stronger 3G coverage in Mahawilachchiya as he is using internet to teach a student called Aruni Apsara of Grade 9. He uses both Skype and Facebook facetime to teach her and the results are amazing. The lucky girl has bettered her marks at each term tests in English, science and mathematics due to untiring efforts of Mr. Samaranayake. He was worried when the communication started affecting due to low signals. He asked me how to solve this problem because he is planning to encourage Houston-based Sri Lankan American community to teach more students in the village using Internet. I told him the best thing would be to raise the issue with Dialog Axiata’s young CEO Mr. Supun Weerasinghe. The former did so and Mr. Weerasinghe immediately sent a technical team to see what technology can be used to provide an uninterrupted data line to Horizon Lanka and the rest of the village.

A team of technicians from Dialog Axiata visited Mahawilachchiya on October 13, 2017 and they decided to erect an additional tower at the Horizon Lanka Foundation premises as a solution. Since they did not have the equipment in their stores at that time, they left the village with the promise of returning with the equipment as soon as they were available.

The Dialog Axiata technical team returned to Horizon Lanka Foundation, Mahawilachchiya on October 18, 2017 with the necessary equipment and the technicians. They erected a tower at Horizon Lanka and tested the signal strength. We were lucky to hear from the team leader that the signal strength is very satisfying and they can connect Horizon Lanka to a very decent internet backbone with Dialog Axiata. The team told us that they would report the results to the company and the company would get back to us with the necessary paperwork and the agreements in two weeks. As soon as those formalities are done, the children at Horizon Academy, Mahawilachchiya will have unlimited faster access to the Internet like they used to have during the period April 2004 to February 2011. This would make a big difference in the academic achievements of the children in Mahawilachchiya in the coming months.

We at Horizon Lanka Foundation thank Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake for raising the issue with Dialog Axiata and Mr. Supun Weerasinghe for the prompt action. Let us hope that a dedicated and faster internet connection would be made available for both Horizon Lanka Foundation and the rest of the village soon.

Dialog Axiata PLC has assisted Horizon Lanka Foundation over the years whenever we requested their assistance. Read more at http://www.horizonlanka.org/en/?s=Dialog+telekom&submit=Search

A Dedicated Internet Connection to Horizon Lanka Foundation from Dialog Axiata – Update 1

Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka

Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon LankaSince July, 2014, with the resumption of our academic activities after a lapse of 3 and half years, the Horizon Lanka Foundation is using Dialog 3G broadband internet facilities using an internet dongle to connect to the Internet. Only Dialog Axiata PLC provides decent 3G coverage to the whole Mahawilachchiya village while the other operators are covering only small pockets of the village with 3G access.

With the number of Dialog customers being increased for both voice and data, the connectivity became slow of late and it was difficult to enjoy an uninterrupted 3G coverage as the 3G facility started to switch between 3G (HSPA) and 2G (EDGE) coverage quite often and the communication was affected. It even deteriorated with the arrival of the monsoon rainy season.

So, Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake, a gentleman who works in Houston, Texas, USA was keen to have a stronger 3G coverage in Mahawilachchiya as he is using internet to teach a student called Aruni Apsara of Grade 9. He uses both Skype and Facebook facetime to teach her and the results are amazing. The lucky girl has bettered her marks at each term tests in English, science and mathematics due to untiring efforts of Mr. Samaranayake. He was worried when the communication started affecting due to low signals. He asked me how to solve this problem because he is planning to encourage Houston-based Sri Lankan American community to teach more students in the village using Internet. I told him the best thing would be to raise the issue with Dialog Axiata’s young CEO Mr. Supun Weerasinghe. The former did so and Mr. Weerasinghe immediately sent a technical team to see what technology can be used to provide an uninterrupted data line to Horizon Lanka and the rest of the village.

A team of technicians from Dialog Axiata visited Mahawilachchiya on October 13, 2017 and they decided to erect an additional tower at the Horizon Lanka Foundation premises as a solution. Since they did not have the equipment in their stores at that time, they left the village with the promise of returning with the equipment as soon as they were available.

We at Horizon Lanka Foundation thank Mr. Nuwan Samaranayake for raising the issue with Dialog Axiata and Mr. Supun Weerasinghe for the prompt action. Let us hope that a dedicated and faster internet connection would be made available for both Horizon Lanka Foundation and the rest of the village soon.

Dialog Axiata PLC has assisted Horizon Lanka Foundation over the years whenever we requested their assistance. Read more at http://www.horizonlanka.org/en/?s=Dialog+telekom&submit=Search

Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiatta PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Horizon Lanka
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara's house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara’s house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara's house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara’s house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara's house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara’s house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara's house
Diaog Axiata PLC team at Aruni Apsara’s house

Please Help Us Get a Dialog CDMA Land Line Telephone

Dialog Axiata Logo

Dialog LogoMr. Nanda Wanninayaka, the Founder of Horizon Lanka Foundation has been using his personal Dialog mobile phone for all Horizon Lanka related communication since 2001. This becomes a big problem as he has to answer the phone even for the least important matters. So, it would be great if we can install a Dialog CDMA land phone for the common official usage. It would ease newly recruited young girl Anupama Sandamali’s job as the administrator/ICT teacher of Horizon Lanka and it would enable her and other students to learn telephone etiquette as well.

A Dialog CDMA land phone is ideal for this requirement. We prefer to use a Dialog land phone because they have the best coverage and the cheapest prices. Besides they have helped us several times by,

  1. Installing an antenna on the roof of Horizon Lanka to provide mobile access to 50-meter radius around Horizon Lanka computer lab in 2001 at a time even bigger towns had not got the Dialog mobile access.
  2. Providing 2G mobile access to Right Bank of Mahawilachchiya through LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request since the night of December 18, 2006.
  3. Expanding 2G coverage by installing equipment in the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya enabling Left Bank of the village with 2G access for even in chena (slash and burn cultivation) farms in the jungles in 2008.
  4. Upgrading the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the LankaBell tower in Pemaduwa Mahawilachchiya.
  5. Expanding the coverage to 3G on Mr. Wanninayaka’s request from the Dialog high-tension tower in Kiralpetiyawa, Mahawilachchiya in 2009.
  6. Planning to provide 4G Home Broadband facility to Mahawilachchiya at a concessionary price.

So, we are comfortable with Dialog Axiata as our communication service provider. We also hope to get Dialog satellite TV facilities in the near future.

To buy a Dialog CDMA land phone we need 2900 LKR (13.69 USD.) This is a post paid per minute package. And the prices are cheaper.

Monthly Rental 300.00 LKR (2.05 USD)

To Dialog Fixed Line 1.50 LKR (0.010 USD)

Any Other Local Network 2.00 LKR (0.013 USD)

Free to Any Network per month 250.00 LKR (1.71USD)

Highlights

Package available for 2,990.00 LKR (inclusive with Tax)

P.S. After reading this article, a gentleman in Australia donated the money to buy the CDMA Phone.

dialog CDMA phone unit
dialog CDMA phone unit

Dialog Telekom provides mobile coverage to Mahawilachchiya

Mahawilacchiya Covered
Mahawilachchiya Covered

Buddhika Prasad Hettiarachchi

Villagers in Mahawilachchiya are very happy to receive Dialog Telekom’s mobile phone coverage to entire village from the night of December 18, 2006. Dialog is the first and only mobile network provider in Mahawilachchiya. Even bigger towns like Mihintale are yet to get Dialog coverage. Dialog provided coverage to Mahawilachchiya to appreciate what we are doing for community development through Horizon Lanka Foundation. The whole village thanks Dialog for covering the village.

Horizon Lanka Foundation was established in 1998. However, the village was suffering without proper communication facilities those days. We just used a mobile phone fixing it to an antenna on the roof of Horizon Lanka computer lab. But it was not enough for us to accomplish our communication needs. As a result, we missed many opportunities that could have come in our way. Lack of communication facilities is not just a problem for Horizon Lanka only. Since many of the villagers are farmers they wanted to maintain constant contact with outside markets. Similarly many other basic requirements are not sufficient or available in Mahawilachchiya. Health and transport can also be included in this group.

A happy farmer using mobile phones
A happy farmer using mobile phones

But communication stands above all others. Villagers had to travel few kilometers even in emergency to get a phone call. They also had to pay a high price for a call. The land line connection was just up to Pemaduwa town. Many villagers had to wait for several hours for an incoming call from somewhere. It was a frequent scene to see a villager or two in Mahawilachchiya tank bund to get a call or to receive a call on a specified time as it was the only location in the village to have some decent coverage. Tank bund was tall and signals from Anuradhapura town which is 40 km away were received to the tank bund. Telegrams are also going by snail mail up to Anuradhapura.

Calling loved ones
Calling loved ones

Mr. Mothilal De Silva, the General Manager of the Dialog Telekom, visited Horizon Lanka in 2002. It was a great occasion for us and it increased our hopes about a proper communication system. He promised to see the feasibility of covering Mahawilachchiya. It was found out that the dialog coverage is 35 km beyond Mahawilachchiya. So we had to wait longer.

Horizon Lanka staff used Dialog mobile phones for communication purposes when they were outside the village and had to pay high charges. As a result a big amount from the annual budget had to be allocated for communication. That cost was an unbearable for a growing Horizon Lanka. In 2003, Dialog Telecom lent a hand to us by providing us with 5 special low cost incoming free packages. This was of immense use to the staff of HLF and could cut down on the communication budget to a considerable extent.

Still no network service provider could cover Mahawilachchiya area. Then Dialog installed a repeater which collected signals from Anuradhapura and distributed within a 50 meter radius around Horizon internet tower. Many people could be seen around the Horizon Lanka premises using their mobile phones to call their friends, relatives and business partners. The repeater was of immense use not only to Horizon Lanka but also to many villagers.

Excitement at an old age
Excitement at an old age

Since December 18, the whole village enjoys the mobile coverage and now the farmers can communicate even from their rice fields to their households. This will make things easy for them. We hope the number of people using mobile phones will increase within next few months remarkable. We also hope that Dialog will enhance their assistance to the village by providing the villagers a special low cost package too.