Axiata launches 4G trial; Axis takeover agreed with STC

26 Sep 2013

The commercialisation of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services will start to become a reality in Indonesia by end-2013 or early-2014, ZDNet reports. The news comes as local mobile operator XL Axiata announced the trial of 4G services in Nusa Dua, in Bali, ahead of the APEC summit there. XL Axiata is working on the upgrade of its mobile networks – part of a three-year project – and aims to finish the works this year.

The cellco has also been busy of late as it looks to acquire another Indonesian operator, Axis Telekom Indonesia. To this end, yesterday its parent company Axiata Group of Malaysia announced that it has entered into a conditional sales purchase agreement (CSPA) with current owner Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and its unit Teleglobal Investments to acquire 95% of Axis. Teleglobal will secure the sale of the shares of the carrier which has a 100% enterprise valuation of USD865 million on a cash- and debt-free basis. Once the takeover is formalised, the enlarged entity intends to take advantage of the LTE frequencies XL and Axis both own in the 1800MHz band. XL owns 7.5MHz of spectrum and Axis 15MHz.

Not to be outdone, the country’s other mobile network operators are also forging ahead with their own plans to deploy LTE. Number one operator by subscribers Telkomsel plans to deploy between 300 and 400 LTE-enabled base transceiver stations (BTS) and roll out a billing platform, as soon as it gets the green light from the Ministry of Communication and Technology. Further, it is also planning on trialling 4G in Medan and Manado after the APEC summit finishes. Second-placed Indosat meanwhile is modernising thousands of its BTS with what it terms ‘more sophisticated and environmental-friendly alternatives’ and also owns a total of 20MHz bandwidth – 15MHz and 5MHz, of 1800MHz frequency, and 10MHz in the 2100MHz frequency band. In Q1 2013 Indosat carried out LTE trials in Bandung and Surabaya.