The Jakarta Post cites PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel) president Alex J Sinaga as saying that the company hopes to expand its subscriber base by 12.2% to 138 million in 2013, helped by an anticipated surge in demand for internet-enabled devices. Mr Sinaga says Telkomsel is confident it will close out this year with 123 million mobile users, and says ‘We plan to add 15 million more next year,’ in its bid to retain its domestic market share. Part of the growth, the official reports, will be driven by a rise in machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, he added. Sinaga points out that a number of Indonesian cellcos are working with state-owned power utility PT PLN to install digital meter boxes equipped with SIM card slots that enable users to pre-pay their electricity consumption with vouchers.
Telkomsel forecasts that the total number of mobile broadband (3G) subscriptions will climb by 34.6% in 2013. To accommodate the growth it is looking to up its network capacity by rolling out an additional 15,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) next year, on top of the 12,000 BTS deployed this year. As of September 2012, Telkomsel operated 51,005 BTS, equivalent to a 24% increase on the same time a year before. The number of 3G-enabled BTS reached 13,415 by end-September, marking a 49% increase year-on-year. The Telkomsel president says that around 70% of the planned new BTS will be used for 3G, with the remainder earmarked for 2G – specifically to cater for rising demand for voice and SMS traffic. ‘As much as 90% of our capital expenditure goes on our network infrastructure,’ said Sinaga, although he declined to divulge the actual CAPEX figure for FY2013.