Indonesia’s newest mobile operator, PT Smart Telecom, part of the Sinar Mas Group, yesterday launched commercial operations, bidding to carve out a niche in a busy and intensely competitive market dominated by ten established players. To differentiate itself, Smart is looking to offer transparent, flat-rate tariffs. ‘Our tariff scheme is transparent and based on a flat rate, without calculating variables such as distance or time classification when making calls,’ Smart deputy CEO Djoko Tata Ibrahim told The Jakarta Post. The company is deploying a CDMA network and has the backing of a USD300 million loan from a Chinese financing firm and network service assistance from ZTE. Djoko says Smart Telecom plans to roll out its services aggressively and aims to cover 80% of Java – via 500 base stations – by the year-end, at which date it hopes to have signed up a million users.
In 2008 the company plans to deploy a further 1,000 towers on other major islands including Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Ambon. Smart also hopes to introduce a fixed wireless access (FWA) service by the end of 2008. ‘We are still in the processing of applying to the government for FWA. Hopefully, we will get the licence in the first semester of next year so that we can start operations by the end of 2008,’ Smart director Ubaidillah Fatah is quoted as saying.
Sinar Mas Group is one of Indonesia’s biggest conglomerates with assets in the pulp and paper sector, property, banking and finance, and food and agriculture.