Courts reject SLT’s application to prevent Dialog’s fibre network expansion

The District Court of Colombo has refused the applications for enjoining orders sought by Sri Lanka Telecom Plc (SLT) against Dialog Axiata Plc (DAP).

SLT had instituted proceedings against DAP on 5 June seeking to restrain DAP from providing any Fixed Telecommunication Services including Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) Active Solutions operations.

While SLT sought to obtain ex parte enjoining orders, DAP lodged an appearance and brought to the notice of Court that SLT had erred in instituting proceedings against the wrong party and misrepresented facts to Court by stating that DAP was not entitled to provide or engage in GPON Active Solutions operations when in fact it was Dialog Broadband Networks Ltd. (Dialog Broadband), a wholly-owned subsidiary of DAP, that was entitled to and engaged in GPON Active Solutions operations, under the license issued to Dialog Broadband.

Accordingly, the case has no impact whatsoever on the GPON-based Fibre Solutions provided by Dialog Broadband. The action by SLT against DAP to block the lawful provision of GPON Solutions by DBN is monopolistic and anti-competitive, suppressing choice and competition in the provision of the said services.

Dialog Broadband has over the past years made large-scale investments in cutting-edge high-speed broadband and other digital infrastructures totalling over $ 425 million (over Rs. 48,000 billion). These investments coming to fruition, including without limitation to the rapid expansion of its fibre network, the connection to the 100G-Plus Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine fibre cable and the launch of the country’s first-ever Tier-III certified data centre, have introduced an all new dimension of competition and choice to end-users within Sri Lanka’s broadband market.

Meanwhile, Dialog Broadband, which is duly licensed by the TRCSL to provide fixed telecommunication services as well as Integrated Transmission services using fibre optic or radio technologies, including without limitation GPON-based Active Transmission Solutions, filed action against SLT in the District Court of Colombo to restrain SLT from disrupting, undermining, interfering or obstructing in the supply and installation of GPON-based Active Solutions.

DAP further stated to Court that the SLT’s case is wrongly constituted and premised upon confidential information belonging to Dialog Broadband, namely a confidential Request for Proposal, which SLT had unlawfully and wrongfully obtained.

The confidential information of Dialog Broadband comprised comprehensive Network Architecture and Service Delivery Architecture design specifications amongst other confidential information of Dialog Broadband and as such kept secret due to its enormous commercial value.

In this regard, Dialog Broadband has already instituted action against SLT in the Commercial High Court bearing No. HC (Civil): 23/2017/IP for wrongfully and unlawfully acquiring confidential information belonging to Dialog Broadband and the Court has ordered SLT to disclose the source or person from whom SLT had acquired the confidential information of Dialog Broadband and to show cause as to why the interim injunction restraining SLT from using the confidential information contained in the Request for Proposals should not be granted.

In the present case, after hearing the submissions of the Counsel for the plaintiff SLT and defendant DAP, Colombo Additional District Judge Amali Ranaweera on 24 July 2017 rejected the enjoining orders sought by SLT.

S.A. Parathalingam, President`s Counsel, appeared with Chanaka de Silva instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam, for the plaintiff Sri Lanka Telecom Plc.

K. Kanag-Isvaran, President`s Counsel, appeared with Avindra Rodrigo, L. Jeyakumar and Nimesha de Silva for the defendant, Dialog Axiata Plc.

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