Posts filed under ‘Indonesia’
Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications group, Singapore Telecom (SingTel), today reported that its aggregate regional mobile subscriber base stood at 232 million as at 31 December 2008, up 7.3% on a quarterly basis, and a 35% increase year-on-year. Despite stiff competition and the deepening global economic gloom, SingTel reported that each of its six mobile associates in the region – Thailand’s Advanced Info Service (AIS), India’s Bharti Airtel, Globe Telecom in the Philippines, Indonesia’s Telkomsel, Pacific Bangladesh Telecom (PBTL) and Pakistan’s Warid Telecom – posted double-digit subscriber growth ranging from 13% to 55% when compared to the same time at end-2007. Of these, India’s Bharti posted the single biggest jump in subscriber numbers to 85.65 million, up from 55.16 million as at 31 December 2007, SingTel said. The group’s wholly owned Ozzie unit Optus posted a 0.9% rise in mobile users over the year to 7.63 million, while in its home market SingTel had 2.94 million cellular customers, up 26% y-o-y. The Singaporean business also reported sustained demand for the Apple iPhone 3G device which helped push its domestic 3G mobile base up to 1.14 million, and 2.33 million for Optus in Australia.
Shareholders of PT Telekomunikasi Seluler (Telkomsel), the nation’s largest cellular operator, introduced Thursday Sarwoto Atmosutarno as the company’s new president director replacing Kiskenda Suriahardja.
Sarwoto moves on from his post as executive general manager of the infrastructure division for Telkomsel’s parent state-run PT Telkom, the nation’s largest telecom firm. Telkomsel is 65 percent owned by publicly listed Telkom, while the remaining 35 percent is owned by Singapore Telecom Mobile Pte Ltd.
“My priority will be to improve the quality of our voice and broadband products by expanding network and bandwidth. This is to keep up with the current stiff competition,” Sarwoto told The Jakarta Post Thursday after the inauguration.
“I will also take advantage of the market community of both Telkom and Telkomsel customers, and leverage synergy between the companies to boost efficiency.”
The replacement of Telkomsel’s chief was made without going through the regular shareholder’s meeting, amid the company’s losing price war against rivals that sent its profits plunging by 7 percent during the first nine months of last year to Rp 9.7 trillion (US$858 million) from Rp 9.08 trillion in the same period of 2007 despite a 36 percent jump in subscribers to 60.5 million, or a 46 percent market share.
Telkomsel is the operator of Kartu Halo, Simpati and Kartu As. This year, Kartu Halo’s call rate fell 30 percent, Simpati’s by 47 percent and Kartu AS’s by 25 percent.
“We are going to see the price war more wisely. That’s why we’re going to focus on improving our service (rather) than getting drowned with our rivals in cutting the call rates,” said Sarwoto, who is a Telkom career official dealing mostly with satellite technology.
Indonesia is home to 11 GSM and CDMA-based cellular phone operators, backed by international giants including Qatar Telecom, Telekom Malaysia, Saudi Telecom, and Hutchison Telecommunications International.
Telkomsel’s former president director Kiskenda, who was on the post since 2005, said in November last year that the company had been more supportive of the public by providing cheaper call rates than to the shareholders by slapping on higher rates to earn more profits. “This is the consequence (of the cheap rate), which eventually (has) trimmed our profit,” said Kiskenda in his defense over Telkomsel’s slumped first nine months profits.
Hutchison Telecom International Limited (HTIL), which operates cellular services in Indonesia through Hutchison CP Telecommunications (Hutchison Telecom Indonesia, or HCPT), its joint venture with CP Group of Indonesia, may exit the market due to what it claims are the ‘complicated regulatory risks’ there, and other negative factors. According to OSK Research which is conducting a review of the country’s wireless market, Hutch believes there ‘is no certainty for foreign players’ and as such, ‘does not want to be part of a possible industry consolidation.’ HTIL operates 2G and 3G services in the country under the brand name 3; it had more than 3.6 million subscribers at the end of September 2008, a market share of 2.8%.
PT Excelcomindo Pratama (XL), Indonesia’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, has deployed a new technology platform supplied by Cisco which it says will allow it to realise a seven-fold increase in network capacity at a fraction of the cost of more traditional upgrades. XL has taken delivery of Cisco’s Service and Application Module for Internet Protocol (SAMI) for the Cisco 7600 Series Router, which supports so-called ‘SS7-over-IP’ (SS7oIP) traffic-processing density.
Commenting on the upgrade, XL network director Dian Siswarini said: ‘Cisco came to us with a surprisingly simple solution in the form of the SAMI. We’ve had the solution running for over two months, and it is working very well. It also gives us the additional upside of being able to deploy new services, which enhances our value to our customers.’ He went on to say: ‘Our subscriber base has grown faster than we forecast. When we first implemented Cisco’s ITP solution in 2003, we only had 2.9 million users. Today, we have more than 25 million subscribers, and this continues to grow rapidly. If we were to meet this growth the traditional way, which is to continue to just add hardware, it would have been very costly and would have added management complexity.’
Indonesian firm PT Global Mediacom (Mediacom) has sold more than 6.475 million shares, or 32% ownership, of its troubled telecoms venture PT Mobile-8 Telecom (Mobile-8). The sale to Jerash Investment, a Dubai-based private equity fund, took place between September and October 2008 at a share price of IDR143 (USD0.01) per share, valuing the transaction at approximately IDR926 billion (USD83.4 million). Following the sale, Mediacom now owns 19% of Mobile-8 Telecom.
Indonesia’s second largest telecoms company by revenues and subscribers, PT Indosat, is looking to sign up at least twelve million new subscribers this year, Antara News reports citing comments by the group’s marketing director Guntur Siboro. Guntur is confident that the company, which is 40.81% owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), will grow by at least the same rate as in 2008, despite the country facing an economic contraction in the global downturn. Last year Indosat grew by between 11%-14% and by 30 September had a customer base of 35.5 million, of which eleven million were new users.
In a related story, Qtel says it will begin a tender offer for shares of Indosat tomorrow, as it looks to increase its ownership of the company to the maximum limit of 65% allowed under local law. The Qatari firm will launch two offers in the US and Indonesia respectively, on 24.19% of Indosat’s shares valued at IDR9.71 trillion (USD883 million). The offer is due to expire on 18 February, the Bisnis Indonesia daily said.
Apple is talking to every operators in Thailand about iPhone 3G, but seems True Move will be the first to seal the deal. True Move, the country’s third largest, said in its statement, “True Move has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone 3G to Thailand in the coming months.”
Yet, no official date is revealed. Currently, Thailand has not ready yet for 3G network, as it is being tested. Thai users may use available EDGE or GPRS for data connection. True Move has 13 million subscribers, while country’s largest, AIS, has 26.8 million subscibers.
If this condition is true, Thailand will be third country in the region, after Singapore and Philippines, that officially sell the Apple phone. Previously, Singapore and Philippines were joining other countries to sell iPhone 3G starting August 22.
FYI, there are tons of pirated iPhones available in Bangkok’s MBK centre. The US-original phone is offered around 29,500 bath (US$ 842), while Hongkong-original phone–offers easier way to insert the SIM card–is sold for 35,000 baht.
So, when will Malaysia and Indonesia join the legion to sell iPhone 3G?