Indonesian mobile operator Telkomsel yesterday officially launched the country’s first commercial high speed 3G wireless service, following successful trials in August. The cellco’s director for planning and development Bambang Riadhy Oemar told local press that the new network was available in several parts of the capital Jakarata, including Cawang, Gatot Subroto, Kuningan, Senayan, Tomang, Taman Anggrek mall, Sudirman, Casablanca, Thamrin, Menteng, the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Monas, Gambir, Harmoni and around the Presidential Palace on Merdeka Utara. Telkomsel has already deployed 300 base station transceivers to launch the service and plans to double this by the end of the year to expand coverage to other cities, including Bandung in West Java, Surabaya in East Java and Medan in North Sumatra. Bambang added that the company plans to invest USD326 million over the three years to 2009 to install a network with 3,000 W-CDMA base stations. Around 60,000 people have signed up for the 3G service since the start of the trials, far exceeding Telkomsel’s conservative forecast of 10,000.
Telkomsel is one of five Indonesian mobile companies holding a licence to operate third-generation mobile telecoms services. The other four – PT Indosat, PT Excelcomindo Pratama, PT Natrindo Telepon Seluler and PT Hutchison CP Telecommunications – are yet to confirm their launch plans. Under the terms of the licence awards, all are required to eventually roll out UMTS networks to at least 10% of their coverage capacity in two provinces. In addition, they must also conduct pilot trials under the supervision of the government. PT Excelcomindo (Excel) has successfully completed its test phase and has clearance to launch 3G in Greater Jakarta, Bandung, Batam, Denpasar, Surabaya and Medan. It hopes to do this by the end of the year: ‘By the end of October there will be about 1,000 transceiver stations to support the new service in Greater Jakarta,’ said Excel head of corporate communications, Ventura Elisawati. PT Indosat, Natrindo and Hutchison are still working towards the launch of trial operations, but hope to start offering 3G services sometime in 2007.