Nalin Perera: Sri Lanka’s Digital Evangelist

Nalin Perera Chief Executive Officer Mobitel[leadership,telecommunication]
Nalin Perera Chief Executive Officer Mobitel[leadership,telecommunication]

Nearly every man who develops an idea works it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged.”–Thomas A. Edison

The significance of telecommunications has been globally accepted, broadly understood, and reflected in its near-ubiquitous penetration and use. Its industrial expansion has facilitated the technological foundation for societal communications. Communication has played a central role in the fundamental operations of a society-from business to government to families. Communication from Web browsing to cell phone calling to instant messaging has become increasingly integrated into how people work, play, and live.

The following excerpt delves into the biography of a famous telecom entrepreneur exploring his work in managing his organization and striving to take Sri Lankan telecommunication industry to great heights.

Nalin Perera, a highly intelligent thinker, and strategist has strong entrepreneurial instincts in the telecommunication industry. He is endowed with great responsibility as the Chief Executive Officer at Mobitel.

In-depth Journey

Nalin, a rugby player and academically trained in the field of business studies, stepped into the world of mobile communications in 1989. During the initial years, he worked at Celtel- a part of Millicom Group. Marketing was his specialization, and he took up positions at Celtel as Market Executive. In his early years, he did stints heading as Senior Manager Customer Operations, General Manager of Sales and Marketing and worked as the Country Manager for Bright Point.

Nalin started his journey with Mobitel in 2001. He worked his way up the ranks, moving through a series of leadership positions in marketing, operations and enterprise business in the company, before being named Chief Marketing Officer and then Chief Operating Officer. In 2017, Mobitel announced that Nalin would be the CEO of the company. Through his pioneering ideas and positive outlook, he continues to serve as a guiding force for the company.

Sense of Serving Exceptionally

Post undertaking the role of CEO, his leadership roles have led the company to gain momentum in multiple sectors besides the mobile services industry. His well-executed strategies have expanded the company’s amenities to Digital healthcare, Enterprise Business Solutions, Mobile Money, Digital Services, and national level initiatives as well.

Over his 30-year career, Nalin has worked for almost 14 CEOs belonging to different nationalities like Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia, Swedish, Belgium, Scottish, and many more.

About Mobitel

Mobitel- Sri Lanka’s National Mobile Service Provider and a fully-owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom. The company offers mobile telephony services, high-speed broadband, enterprise solutions, IDD services, mobile money (mCash) and a host of value added services.

Mobitel was the pioneer in South Asia to launch the first Super-3.5G HSPA network in South Asia in 2007, and subsequently trialled HSPA+, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) in 2009.  Another successful maiden attempt in the region was, Mobitel went on to demonstrate 4G-LTE technology for the first time in South Asia in 2011.

Accordingly, Mobitel launched its 4G-LTE Network in 2013 to provide unparalleled broadband experience to Sri Lankans. Keeping ahead with pioneering new technologies, Mobitel trialled 4.5G LTE-Advanced Pro technology with CA (Carrier Aggregation) of three bands again for the first time in South Asia in 2016.

In 2017, Mobitel was able to deploy the first Sub-1G mobile broadband network in Sri Lanka based on 900MHz spectrum innovatively to provide superior coverage for some rural areas of the country.

In 2018 Mobitel launched the First Commercial 4.5G/4G+ Mobile Network in South Asia. In April 2019, Mobitel was the first network in South Asia to successfully showcase the first 5G deployment over a mobile network by connecting a commercial mobile smartphone to its 5G network.

Fuelling over USD 700mn worth of investments to-date, Mobitel has shaped the ICT landscape experiencing exciting growth- poised to lead the industry into its next phase of development.

It facilitates both prepaid and post-paid mobile services, along with mobile broadband services. The success of Mobitel Business Solution has enabled Nalin and his team to garner prominent local and international conglomerates in the country.

Outperforming Varied Projects

Some of the key projects of Mobitel Business Solutions include the partnership with IBM to offer enterprise customers IBM MaaS360 with Watson.

Watson is a comprehensive mobile management solution that allows businesses to fully embrace mobile technology securely and quickly scale deployments throughout their organization.

The company has partnered with Utech to introduce IIOT solutions, with Bileeta to introduce mERP, and with Cemex to introduce mHRM and Kayjay, M3Force, Fetons, Office Networks for Advanced CCTV solutions with the integration of artificial intelligence.

Achievements Crediting Excellence

Nalin’s brilliance and success can be evaluated from the fact that his leadership has helped the company to receive an array of honors and accolades in Brand, Customer Service, Engineering, Operations, HR Excellence and many more.

Due to his magnanimous contribution through continuous novelty and service quality, Mobitel has been felicitated with numerous awards. Some amongst them include, ‘Excellence of the Year for Innovation and Leadership Award’ at Le Fonti Awards 2018 in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, Nalin has also been conferred gold for and has received honors at the 8th ACEF Global Customer Engagement forum which focused on Artificial Intelligence and innovative technology.

His guidance has accredited the company with ‘Service Brand of the Year’ at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards in 2017 & 2018 consecutively.

The positive growth trajectory of Mobitel over the past few years and its transformative journey gives Nalin immense pride and honor to witness it and sustainably grow with it.

Technology and Finance Industry in the Mainstream

Nalin feels technology is the DNA leading to innovative approaches and domination in the driving market. He strives to draft all the plans from strategic planning to service execution in accordance with the modernistic technology to ensure flawless delivery and satisfying customer expectations.

Furthermore, to incorporate employees with the latest technologies, periodic training sessions are conducted thereby equipping them with optimal knowledgeable skills to serve and evolve better. The training modules ultimately unravel innovative thinking and enable the employees to achieve their maximum potential that reflects in increased productivity and efficiency of the overall organization.

Moreover, with mobile becoming an ultimate source for information consumption along with the pragmatism of cryptocurrency, block chain, and bitcoin, Nalin believes that telecommunication would play a key role. It can provide significant support to financial entities to identify new trends and meet stakeholder expectations. Thus this will help to build a new paradigm for banking and transforming a knowledge-driven economy into a digital-inclusive ecosystem.

In his advice to the emerging entrepreneurs striving to excel in the e-commerce industry, Nalin says,

Have a strong purpose in what you want to achieve in the next 3 to 5 years. Believe in your purpose and align your goals and activities towards achieving that purpose.”

He adds, “Always evolve and learn the new trends to create value (Adapt, evolve and thrive) Welcome constructive criticisms whether it’s positive, negative or neutral, different opinions enable you to see beyond the horizon, moulding you to become a better person in life and work.”

Appreciating Government’s Broader Role

The government has embarked on several strategic initiatives to ensure the upliftment of the business sector. This includes policy amendments, tax concessions, and strategic private-public partnerships (PPPs). By providing private sector the opportunity to take leadership in national-level initiatives, the government is enabling the business sector to propel the economy and empowering small scale industries to thrive and establish a presence in the global market, feels Nalin

Optimizing Future Plans

  • As part of the further expansion strategy, Nalin envisages his company’s presence in Digital Health Care through eChannelling services.
  • He aims to facilitate the Education, transportation and finance sectors by digitalizing and maintaining the ticketing platforms, uplift the corporate business sector through Mobitel’s Mobitel Business Solutions (MBS).
  • Elaborating MBS:

MBS is conceptualized to offer corporates the ideal platform to unlock their fullest business potential by offering cutting-edge enterprise solutions. This is done through his dedicated expert team who have utilized the latest technological tools such as Big Data, Advanced analytics, and data science.

Based on the findings, MBS solutions have enabled organizations to operate at their optimal level and expand and increase their growth in the long term.

During 2018 MBS partnered with key clients, namely Sretchline, Waters Edge, Jinasena, SAGT, Indoscan, HNB, BOC, Commercial Bank and Domino’s Pizza and many more.

Nalin is taking efforts to sharpen the MBS Services with the latest technology such as IIOT solutions and extend industry-specific solutions for plantations, transportation, warehousing, security to work.

He aspires to expand the services not only in Sri Lanka but also desires to strengthen his company’s presence in Asian and South East Asian regions. Further, Nalin’s strategy to deliver uncompromising MBS services has brought glory to Sri Lanka by winning the Best business solutions provider of the year 2019 at South Asian Business Excellence Awards recently.

To know more about Nalin and his expertise connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter and get to know in detail about Mobitel at

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