Big five launch LTE in '1800MHz' band as new player targets October launch

8 Jul 2015

Indonesia’s five largest mobile operators by subscribers – Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata, Tri Indonesia and Smartfren – have now all launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the 1800MHz band (nb. Smartfren holds 1900MHz frequencies and plans to migrate to 2300Mhz), while a new entrant has also set out its stall to enter the 4G segment later this year. The Jakarta Post writes that Berca Hardayaperkasa, a unit of the diversified Indonesian conglomerate Central Cipta Murdaya (CCM), intends to launch LTE services in Bali, Makassar and Pekanbaru in October, adding its hat to an already crowded ring. The paper claims that CCM intends to invest upwards of USD150 million to roll out 4G services in the three named locations, and ultimately plans to launch in twelve cities outside Java. Operating under the brand name WiGO, Berca initially set up operations as a fixed WiMAX operator in July 2009 having secured 2300MHz spectrum – one of eight firms receiving WiMAX licences at that date.

Telkomsel has switched on its 4G network in Makassar, South Sulawesi, while Indosat’s network is now live in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, and as reported earlier by CommsUpdate, XL Axiata kicked off LTE services on the island of Lombok. Meanwhile, Tri Indonesia has inaugurated its 4G network in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, and CDMA operator-turned LTE provider Smartfren activated its network in Batam, Riau Islands, as all the main players rush to deploy advanced services following the government’s decision to open up the 1800MHz band for 4G. Telkomsel reportedly has 620,000 LTE subscribers, while XL Axiata has 200,000.