Yessie D Yoseta, chief technology director at XL Axiata, says the cellco completed 90% of its planned network infrastructure development for 2019 in the first six months of the year, installing 19,000 new base transceiver stations (BTS) – mostly in areas outside Java – and is on course to reach 95% of the population by end-2019. The Jakarta Post cites Yessie as saying that publicly listed XL is actively supporting the government’s universal service obligation (USO) programme, including installing 250 4G BTS in 51 cities in East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua during the course of this year. As at 30 June 2019, the cellco boasted a total of 127,257 BTS on-air, of which 36,674 support 2G services, 53,260 are 3G-enabled and 37,323 have been upgraded to 4G LTE capability.
XL Axiata is targeting 135,000 BTS on-air in more than 440 cities by the year end, covering 95% of the country’s roughly 260 million inhabitants, and to that end has earmarked four-fifths of its IDR7.5 trillion (USD533 million) CAPEX for the year to reach that goal. Yessie also said that the cellco will use the national Palapa Ring network, that has been deployed in western and central Indonesia, for fibre-optic backhaul and revealed that XL has already ‘connected 30% of its coverage area to the fibre-optic network with a plan to increase this figure to 50% by year-end and 70% by the end of next year’. The move is expected to deliver a five-fold improvement in network capacity and enable superfast 5G technology, she added.