Telkomsel, Indonesia’s largest operator by subscribers, has set aside $1.1 billion to develop its wireless data services.
The company’s president director Sarwoto Atmosutarno said Telkomsel would use the sum to expand its network capacity, improve on its IT system and upgrade and erect more BTS stations. Telkomsel has 38,000 BTS towers nationwide, with more than 8,300 supporting 3G.
The company announced it had garnered 100 million subscribers yesterday, and expects the upgrades to help it hit the 115 million subscriber target.
Atmosutarno told the Jakarta Post that operators who serve upwards of 100 million subscribers are expected to provide services in addition to traditional voice and text, citing examples such a China Mobile and India’s Bharti Airtel.
Atmosutarno said Tekomsel would focus on the data business apart from its traditional strongholds of voice and text messages. He added data had been contributing more to the firm’s revenue - 14% in Q1 this year compared to 7% in 2010. Data however, had still yet to match the 70% figure from voice and text.
Unlike operators in mature markets who are seeing greater percentages of revenue emerge from data compared to voice, Indonesia’s operators are still heavily reliant on revenue from voice and text.
The firm is also awaiting government approval for LTE trials.
Telkomsel is 65% owned by parent company Telkom, with the remaining 35% held by SingTel. Telkom has expressed interest in buying over SingTel’s stake. SingTel’s parent company Temasek Holdings and its affiliates, including Telkomsel, were fineda total of $16.5 million earlier this year for anti-competitive behaviour in Indonesia’s telecoms market.