Hutchison 3 Indonesia (Tri), the mobile subsidiary of Hong Kong-based conglomerate CK Hutchison, has reaffirmed its intention to launch 4G LTE services in six cities in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Bali, this year – having previously set a goal to launch in the first quarter. In an interview with IndoTelko, vice president of Tri Indonesia, Muhammad Danny Buldansyah, said: ‘March 30th 2016. Yes, we are launching 4G in six cities’. The urban centres the firm is targeting include Jakarta, Bandung, Batam, Pontianak and Makassar he added, noting that the target cities are those that are seen as offering the highest potential for economic returns due to high volumes of data traffic.
To date, Tri Indonesia has been focusing its efforts on its 3G network rollout, deploying W-CDMA mobile broadband access to the 2,820 sub-districts, 307 municipalities/regencies in 25 provinces in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java, Bali and Lombok. As at 30 September 2015, the cellco had extended its national footprint to 86% of the Indonesian population, adding that the penetration of smartphone users in the network had reached ‘almost 80%’.
TeleGeography notes that in December 2015 the operator announced its aim to launch in six cities by the end of Q1 2016, with vice president Danny M Hutchison terming it an ‘early gift’ to its customers. 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 later this year 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 the spectrum.