According to The Jakarta Post, the country’s largest mobile operator, Telkomsel, plans to invest up to USD1.5 billion in 2007 to expand its network through the deployment of around 5,000 new Base Transceiver Stations (BTS). In a press release at the weekend, the cellco said the expansion would improve penetration in every sub-district in Kalimantan as well as increasing coverage of the sub-districts of Sulawesi to around 70%. Telkomsel has already installed 15,000 BTSs throughout the country, with a third of the total being commissioned in 2006. The operator added 10.6 million users last year on the back of a USD1.5 billion investment programme, boosting its customer total to 34.9 million at the year end. Telkomsel now predicts that Indonesia’s mobile phone base will swell by 25% in 2007, from 64 million to 84 million, and is confident of capturing around 7.5 to nine million, or half, of all new subscribers during the year.
Telkomsel also launched a third-generation (3G) mobile network last year and today boasts 1.5 million UMTS users and coverage of 25 cities. The two other 3G operators, Excelcomindo and Indosat unit Satelindo are also operational. The former had 130,000 UMTS users as of December 2006, while Satelindo, which launched its network in November, has not published any subscriber data, but is targeting 320,000 users by early 2007.