Indosat Ooredoo launches LTE-A as it sets out 4G aspirations

1 Dec 2015

Newly rebranded Indonesian mobile operator Indosat Ooredoo has officially launched its ‘4G Plus Internet’ service, capable of delivering LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) data speeds, as it looks to meet end users’ demand for ever faster connectivity with clearer voice call quality. In a marketing event held yesterday to launch 4G services in Jakarta, the firm’s President and CEO, Alexander Rusli, told journalists that the evolved 4G network already offers peak data throughput of 185Mbps, with 4G Plus Internet now live in 21 cities across Indonesia, including Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Pontianak in West Kalimantan, and a further 14 to be added by the year end. The areas to be added are believed to comprise: Tegal and Pekalongan in Central Java; Medan, North Sumatra; Batam and Pekanbaru in Riau; Palembang, South Sumatra; Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan; Manado, North Sulawesi; Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara; Madura and Pacitan in East Java; and Cirebon and Purwakarta in West Java.

Nonetheless, to date some 40 million Indonesians are covered by Indosat Ooredoo’s 4G signal, with the cellco looking to reach five million people each month during the course of 2016. In the launch phase, Indosat Ooredoo is offering users a free 10GB worth of data and 10,000 call minutes when signing up to the new service, with prices starting from IDR899,000 (USD65.90). As the country’s second largest mobile network operator by subscribers, Indosat Ooredoo is setting out its stall to improve 4G take-up, investing around USD1.7 billion in the technology since 2012. To date, though, uptake has been limited, with only three million out of a total 68.5 million customers owning a 4G-capable smartphone, according to Rusli. The official says that Indosat Ooredoo is in talks with local handset manufacturers ‘to provide cheap 4G smartphones’, adding that the company also worked with local app developers to provide cloud-based services on its network.

In a related development, Rusli has confirmed that the group’s licensed Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) unit PT Indosat Mega Media (IM2), is preparing to launch time division duplex (TDD-LTE) in January 2016, and to that end is currently in the middle of a development process with Huawei of China in West Java. Rusli said that the decision to go for TDD-LTE for IM2 reflects the considerable market potential for mobile internet in the 2.3GHz band – seen as optimised for data-only services. IM2 presently has operations in West Java and Jabodetabek. It acquired its licence in 2009 and went on to conduct trials of WiMAX technology standards d and e.

Indonesia, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (IOH)