Merza Fachys, the president of Indonesian CDMA operator-turned-LTE provider Telekom PT SmartFren (Smartfren), says that under the government’s network migration programme his company will not be able to use the 1900MHz band for its service from the start of 2017 and, as such, is looking to move to the 2300MHz band where it is hopeful of securing 30MHz of spectrum. IndoTelko quotes the Smartfren supremo as saying that his company currently holds 13.75MHz of bandwidth in the 1900MHz band for CDMA, but that, according to the rules, it will not be able to use this beyond December 2016. Further, Fachys notes that Smartfren has also had to restructure its operations in the 850MHz band, which has had a particular impact in Greater Jakarta and West Java (JBJB), he said, adding that the migration of some five million CDMA users currently housed at 850MHz should be completed by the year end, ready to migrate to 4G LTE in a higher band. Local press reports suggest that Smartfren had amassed a total of 1.4 million subscribers to its 4G network, out of a total of more than twelve million CDMA and LTE subscribers. Around 100,000 users are thought to be signed up to one of its ‘True Unlimited’ packages.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Smartfren has successfully deployed its LTE network in 85 cities across the country as it ramps up efforts to take a bigger share of the fledgling 4G market there. As part of its 2016 strategy plan, the operator is targeting signing five million LTE subscribers by the end of this year and expanding its service coverage from the 22 covered at end-2015, with its president confirming in January this year that the carrier has sufficient financial reserves to meet its rollout targets, adding that it was also working with a number of smartphone manufacturers – such as Lenovo – to improve 4G penetration across the country. The carrier is working with Nokia Networks and ZTE, with the former developing base transceiver stations (BTS) in Greater Jakarta, West Java and Sumatra, and the latter handling Smartfren’s infrastructure rollout across Central Java, East Java, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan and Sulawesi.