Alex Sinaga, the CEO of Indonesia’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), says his company is back on track in terms of meeting its business targets in fiscal 2013, despite a difficult first quarter in which it lost a net four million users as a result of ‘seasonal trends’. The Jakarta Post quotes the Telkomsel official as saying that in the past two months, the carrier has recouped a net three million mobile subscriptions, adding that he expects further strong growth during the upcoming Lebaran season, when Indonesians traditionally increase their communication activities via phone. By the end of 2013 the carrier is confident of hitting the 136 million customers mark, up 10% year-on-year.
To help drive customer take-up, Alex says that Telkomsel is forging ahead with the deployment of more 3G base transceiver stations (BTS). Around 70% of the 15,000 new BTS it intends to install this year will be equipped to run on 3G technology, he said. ‘As of May, we have deployed 6,000 new transceivers in total,’ he added. In total, Telkomsel is looking to augment it’s the total number of BTS on its networks by 27.6% in FY 2013, while the proportion of transceivers that are 3G-enabled will rise by 36.6%, compared to end-2012 figures. By May the cellco had spent one third of its IDR10 trillion (USD1 billion) annual CAPEX for this year to fund its expansion – which includes improvements in the eastern part of Indonesia which is currently the least connected in terms of telecommunication facilities due to what Alex calls ‘the sparsely located population hubs’ there. 80% of the FY 2013 capital expenditure programme is set aside for equipment/network upgrades, he added.