XL Axiata does not intend to launch a commercial 3G service in the 900MHz band within the next twelve months, despite having trialled UMTS-900 in mid-2014. Online news portal IndoTelko cites the cellco’s director of management services, Ongki Kurniawan, as saying that it had opted against the plan due to ‘high interference on that frequency’. Axiata owns 7.5MHz of bandwidth in the 900MHz band and will continue to use it to service its 2G GSM users, he said. ‘We intend to focus on moving our GSM customers directly to 3G [2100MHz] or 4G at 1800MHz when it is repurposed from its current 2G usage’, he noted, adding that the cellco’s frequency management plan also retains the future option to refarm 3G at 900MHz.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Indonesia’s four main GSM mobile operators – Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata and Tri Indonesia – intend to launch 4G LTE services simultaneously in various cities in July, using frequencies currently held in the 1800MHz band. Ismail Cawidu, a spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), known locally as Kemkominfo, has been quoted as saying that: ‘All operators will launch simultaneously, [although this will be in] disparate locations for each operator; these are, Balikpapan, Makassar, Batam and Bali.’ Details of who will launch where are sketchy at this stage and don’t necessarily correspond fully to the ministry statement, but Telkmomsel is expected to target Makassar for its LTE launch, with Indosat looking towards Balikpapan on the east coast of the island of Borneo, Tri Indonesia launching in Banjarmasin, and XL Axiata in Mataram. Moreover, CDMA operator SmartFren Telecom – which is in the process of migrating to LTE – is also being linked to the rollout of commercial 4G services in Batam in July.