Five mobile carriers PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), a unit of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (TLKM), PT XL Axiata (EXCL), PT Indosat (ISAT), PT Smartfren Telecom (FREN) and PT Tri Indonesia have announced their readiness to provide 4G Long-Term Evolution, or LTE services across the country, starting this year. The services will start out on the 900 megahertz spectrum.
In September 2014, former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono released a national broadband plan for 2014 to 2019. Based on this plan, the government intends to assign 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz frequencies for 4G.
The biggest benefit of 4G is that the speed is 10 times faster than current 3G network speeds. Some observers have said that the deployment of 4G service will spur the growth of mobile apps.
Rudiantara, the minister of communication and information technology, has allowed Telkomsel to launch 4G in Jakarta and Bali on Dec. 8, 2014. Telkom will spend up to $2 billion this year, with half of the fund to go toward Telkomsel’s business expansion, including the 4G network services.
XL Axiata said that it is ready to run 4G through its 1,800MHz spectrum. Director of service management of XL Axiata Ongki Kurniawan said that XL Axiata has deployed 14 units of 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) in the capital city of West Nusa Tenggara area, Lombok, as well as covering government and business services.
XL Axiata is now looking to roll out 1800MHz BTS in the cities of Bandung, Surabaya, Denpasar and Jakarta later this year. Additionally, the operator notes that it already has 4G LTE service in the 900MHz band in Medan, Bogor, and Yogyakarta cities.
Third-ranked Indosat has launched Super 4G-LTE in Jakarta and will offer the service in Yogyakarta and Bali in January 2015. Indosat has just finished migrating their customers of StarOne, whose services were shut by the end of last June.
By the end of this year, Indosat claimed that it has successfully finished network modernization in 42 main cities and surrounding areas or nearly 200 districts/cities all over Indonesia.
The government hopes the network upgrades will have a knock-on effect on other industries. Rudiantara has asked Indonesian handset makers to produce LTE-compatible smartphones domestically.
Indonesia’s five largest mobile operators by subscribers – Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata, Tri Indonesia and Smartfren – have now all launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the 1800MHz band; a new entrant has also set out its stall to enter the 4G segment later this year.
Local media writes that Berca Hardayaperkasa, a unit of the diversified Indonesian conglomerate Central Cipta Murdaya (CCM), intends to launch LTE services in Bali, Makassar and Pekanbaru in October, adding to an already crowded ring.
The paper claims that CCM intends to invest upwards of $150 million to roll out 4G services in the three named locations, and ultimately plans to launch in twelve cities outside Java. Operating under the brand name WiGO, Berca initially set up operations as a fixed WiMAX operator in July 2009 having secured 2300MHz spectrum – one of eight firms receiving WiMAX licences at that date.
Telkomsel has switched on its 4G network in Makassar, South Sulawesi, while Indosat’s network is now live in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and as reported earlier by CommsUpdate, XL Axiata kicked off LTE services on the island of Lombok.
Another mobile operator Tri Indonesia has launched its 4G network in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan. Meanwhile, CDMA operator-turned LTE provider Smartfren activated its network in Batam, Riau Islands, as all the main players rush to deploy advanced services following the government’s decision to open up the 1800MHz band for 4G. Telkomsel reportedly has 620,000 LTE subscribers, while XL Axiata has 200,000.