Indonesian mobile operator PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), a wholly owned unit of state-owned PTO Telkom Indonesia, plans to invest IDR12.9 trillion (USD993.3 million) this year to bolster its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network coverage, with a view to controlling at least half of all 4G users in the country by end-2015. The Jakarta Post cites Telkomsel’s senior vice president for LTE projects, Hendri Mulya Sjam, as saying that the company needs to take a 50% share of the nascent LTE market, and will deploy new base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country to achieve this. The cellco’s 4G network infrastructure is currently live in Jakarta, Bandung (West Java), Surabaya (East Java) and Medan (North Sumatra), but Telkomsel now aims to deliver wider coverage and will also work with handset distributors to market 4G handsets where its signal is already available. Although the carrier has around 140 million mobile subscribers, Telkomsel says that only 250,000 currently subscribe to 4G. However, it is confident that as cheaper handsets hit the market, more people will migrate to 4G from 3G, or even straight from 2G services.
Previously, Telkomsel president Ririek Adriansyah confirmed that the IDR12.9 trillion CAPEX for wireless in 2015 includes plans to build 15,000 new BTS, bringing it to a total of 100,000, of which 75% will support 3G and the remainder will support both 2G and 4G services. Telkomsel’s parent plans to spend a total of IDR23 trillion this year in capital expenditure projects – including those for its wireless division.