CK Hutchisons’s Tri Indonesia mobile subsidiary has revealed plans to add a further six cities to its 4G network in early 2016. Speaking at the IndoTelko Forum ‘4G, What’s Next?’, the firm’s vice president Danny M Hutchison confirmed what he termed an ‘early gift’ to its customers, noting that Jakarta and Bandung are included in the list of cities to benefit from the expansion. Tri Indonesia has allocated a 5MHz block of spectrum in the 1800MHz range to support its LTE service, with Hutchison explaining that in order to provide a good level of service, Tri has optimised its existing resources to be able to carry ‘huge’ volumes of data traffic.
As it stands, the cellco is only in possession of 10MHz of 1800MHz bandwidth and a further 10MHz block in the 2100MHz band, although it is looking to participate in the upcoming auction of frequencies of 2100MHz spectrum in 2016 to bolster its spectrum holdings. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (aka Kemenkominfo) is scheduled to release two 5MHz blocks of 3G frequencies at 2100MHz (Blocks 11 and 12) – the legacy of XL Axiata’s takeover of Axis Indonesia in March 2014. Tri Indonesia plans to compete with its rivals, Telkomsel, Indosat Ooredoo and XL Axiata, for the rights to use this frequency.
Last month, Tri reported that it had successfully reallocated more than 20,000 2G base transceiver stations (BTS) in the 1800MHz band to 4G LTE, as part of Kemkominfo’s directive of April this year. Tri president Randeep Singh Sekhon confirmed that the reallocation had gone largely to plan, most recently with the switch over of 2,000 2G BTS in the inner Jakarta region serving as ‘the final phase of the setup process’. The cellco’s 10MHz block of 2100MHz spectrum is used to help it deliver 3G broadband speeds to users as part of the Broadband Indonesia plan launched by the government. As at 30 September 2015, Randeep said that Tri had expanded its overall mobile network to almost 39,000 BTS, all of which will eventually be upgraded to 4G. As it stands, the cellco’s signal serves 86% of the Indonesian population, and its current user base is 55.4 million customers – 60% of whom are mobile data customers.