Lack of spectrum sharing threatens to slow 3G, digital TV growth

3 Aug 2012

The Jakarta Post reports that a lack of spectrum sharing between Indonesia’s incumbent telecoms operators threatens to hinder the pace of rollout of digital TV and 3G in the country. The paper says that broadcasters and telcos alike are showing signs of unwillingness to share precious spectrum resources leading to a lack of capacity. Citing Ivan Cahya Permana, the head of service control systems at PT Telkomsel, the paper notes that the cellco says it needs more spectrum, given that the channels already allotted it have hit full capacity. Telkomsel currently provides voice, text and data services through two channels allocated to it by the government, but with more than 110 million subscribers, it needs more spectrum to support a push into the 3G realm. Ivan is keen for the state to allow it to use spectrum in the 700MHz band for 3G, which would allow its towers to provide wider coverage than the more commonly allocated 2100MHz band. However, the 700MHz spectrum band is currently assigned to TV stations in Indonesia for analogue broadcasts, and telcos are petitioning the government to assign a different part of the spectrum to broadcasters so they can expand their 3G services. Earlier, the state announced plans to rearrange spectrums for TV – as part of a digital switchover – by 2018. Ivan notes that by redistributing the TV broadcasters’ spectrum, the leftover frequencies could be used to offer Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies too. Despite this call, the broadcasters are unwilling to rush headlong into DTT – citing costs as the primary reason.

Indonesia, Telkomsel (Telekomunikasi Selular)