KemKominfo revokes Bolt!’s frequency licence over non-payment of fees

2 Jan 2019

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), known locally as Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika (KemKominfo), has officially revoked the radio frequency band licences (IPFR) owned by Indonesian operators First Media and Internux, trading under the banner Bolt!, for the non-payment of arrears on its Usage Rights Fees (BHP). Internux had held IPFR permits relating to broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum it secured in a July 2009 auction of 2300MHz frequencies. The operator was issued with 15MHz bandwidth in Zone 4: Northern Sumatra, Jakarta, Bogor, Tangerang, Depok, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek) and Banten, and following a threat to rescind its licence in November 2018, the operator said it was committed to constructing and maintaining a BWA network in compliance with all regulations. The telco reportedly submitted a settlement proposal to the Ministry on 16 November, in the hope of achieving a solution, but that proved short-lived as KemKominfo officially revoked its licences on 28 December under Ministerial Decree (KM) Numbers 1011 and 1012 of 2018. At the time of the decision, First Media and Internux (Bolt!) had BHP arrears of IDR364.84 billion (USD25.57 million). Meanwhile, the IPFR held by rival operator Jasnita Telekomindo is also thought to have been revoked.

KemKominfo’s decision to carry through its threat effectively brings to an end Bolt!’s foray into Indonesia’s national broadband market. Having pioneered 4G TD-LTE wireless broadband services in Zone 4, the company (whose customer base peaked at around three million) announced on 17 September 2018 that it was struggling financially and declared the formal Postponement of Temporary Debt Payment Obligations (PKPUS) which required it to then submit a debt restructuring proposal based on the request of its creditors, PT Equasel Selaras and PT Intiusaha Solusindo. Although the proposal was endorsed in the commercial courts, the Ministry of Finance (Kemenkeu) rejected the repayment plan presented and the permit was subsequently revoked – prompting broader calls for a restructuring of fees and licence terms and conditions at the national level to ensure competition can thrive.

Post-shutdown, Bolt! customers have been invited to switch to First Media’s Homepass cable-based broadband services.