Fizzle, fizzle, little StarOne; Indosat to shutter CDMA network by end June

17 Jun 2015

Indonesian mobile network operator Indosat has revealed it will shut down its ‘StarOne’ branded CDMA fixed-wireless service and migrate the remaining users on the network to its GSM service by the end of June, in order to comply with a ruling made by the government, the Jakarta Globe reports. ‘In line with the [government’s] frequency settlement, StarOne can no longer function or operate its current CDMA technology. This means Indosat is unable to offer its StarOne services to the public,’ the carrier confirmed on its website this week. The country’s second largest player by subscribers has approximately 77,000 StarOne customers in 83 towns and cities across the country, all of whom will be encouraged to sign up to its much larger, 66.55 million-strong GSM network. The move, which follows a Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) directive designed to free up the CDMA-850 band, will see Indosat issue existing StarOne subscribers with an Indosat IM3 GSM SIM card as well as the promise to transfer any credit on their current card to the new service, via an e-wallet application. Further, the cellco says that in the migration phase users will be able to forward voice calls and SMS messages to their new GSM number.

The paper also notes that the country’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, state-owned Telkomsel, plans to close down its own ‘Flexi’ CDMA operation by the end of the year.

In February 2015 the minister for communications and information technology, Rudiantara, confirmed that by the end of 2015, all Indonesians would be able to enjoy 4G in the 1800MHz band, saying he will issue an official Circular (SE) for the four GSM-1800 operators –Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata and 3 Indonesia – to be awarded with technology-neutral 1800MHz frequencies (with an adjacent band allocation), and to that end will set up a task force to implement the licensing process and reallocate their spectrum to make their bandwidth contiguous. The minister also confirmed that carrier aggregation (CA) with the 900MHz band will also be permitted, to hopefully provide commercial LTE services in many areas by the same date. It is understood that the four main GSM/W-CDMA operators have broadly backed the plan and will ultimately end up holding 4G concessions based on LTE-FDD technology. The migration plan kicked off on 1 May.