Telekom PT SmartFren (Smartfren), the Indonesian CDMA operator-turned-LTE provider, has laid out ambitious targets for its fledgling 4G mobile service in 2016, including signing five million subscribers by the end of the year and expanding its service coverage to 85 cities from 22 currently. Company president Merza Fachys confirmed that the carrier has sufficient financial reserves to meet its rollout targets, adding that it is working with a number of smartphone manufacturers – such as Lenovo – to improve 4G penetration across the country. Smartfren is already working on an Open Market Handset (OMH) partnership agreement with the phone maker, bundling the Lenovo A6010 smartphone in a starter pack deal. The bundle comprises the Lenovo A6010 itself, plus a ‘bonus’ of 2GB of data downloads that can be used up to five days after activation. Once that quota has been used up, subscribers can top-up their plan in blocks of 500MB, costing IDR20,000 (USD1.46) per block, with the offer available for a one-year period – with a maximum of twelve separate top-ups. As the Lenovo A6010 does not support the 2300MHz frequency band, Smartfren says its 4G LTE users will use FDD frequency in the 850MHz band.
According to TeleGeography, Smartfren booked a net loss of IDR1.341 trillion in the nine months ended 30 September 2015 on the back of an IDR942.657 billion loss in the corresponding year-earlier period. The operator said that its inability to continue 2014’s double-digit revenue growth had weighed heavily on its bottom line. The publicly listed telco booked turnover of IDR2.274 trillion in the January-September 2015 period, up 3.8% when compared to the IDR2.191 trillion figure it reported in 9M14. Of the total, IDR1.843 trillion was derived from data services, IDR217.618 billion from voice call services and IDR107.844 billion from SMS messaging. Operating costs, however, climbed to IDR3.057 trillion in the period under review, up from IDR2.914 trillion a year ago, and served to push operating losses higher to IDR783.094 billion from IDR723.521 billion.