Indonesia’s PT Smartfren Telecom (Smartfren) has set out its stall to double its mobile subscriber base this year and promises to be more aggressive in optimising its 4G network to reach this goal. The firm’s deputy commercial CEO Djoko Tata Ibrahim told a media briefing in Jakarta that Smartfren closed out 2017 with twelve million mobile users, and now aims to double this to 24 million by ramping up its marketing strategies. The official also confirmed that the cellco is now using a full 4G LTE network using frequencies at 850MHz and 2300MHz and has finally switched off its legacy CDMA network as part of its migration plan. Smartfren closed out 2017 with 13,326 base stations on air and will deploy a further 10,000 new units in 2018, he said. Djoko also provided some details on Smartfren’s three-pronged subscriber acquisition strategy, noting that the firm is foregrounding: Open Market Handset (OMH) strategy, which targets the premium market by working with handset vendors such as Samsung, Lenovo, and HiSense to develop smartphone devices with products tailored to the cellco’s networks and services; Andromax bundling, which targets the lower-middle segment by offering them bundled services with an Andromax handset (a new model of which will launch in February) and which is based on what it terms an ‘affordable price with unlimited data concept’; and sales of starter packs for the lower-income demographic.
Smartfren booked losses of IDR2.822 trillion (USD211.5 million) in January-September 2017, but is confident that it is managing to grow its revenues, which stood at IDR3.318 trillion in the same period, up 28% from IDR2.592 trillion in 9M16.