PT Excelcomindo Pratama (Excel), a 60%-owned unit of Telekom Malaysia, yesterday launched its 3G mobile network in Jakarta, Surabaya in East Java and Denpasar in Bali. In a written statement the company said the new service would initially be available in six cities. It is also cooperating with Celcom in Malaysia, MobileOne in Singapore, Telstra in Australia and Hong Kong CSL in Hong Kong to allow international roaming. Excelcomindo has invested between USD50 million and USD100 million in developing its 3G service. Ericsson is supplying the new network, which includes W-CDMA and HSDPA technology. It has already built 400 base stations and plans to add a further 600 by the end of the year.
In the wake of Excel’s announcement, the Indonesian government warned the country’s 3G licence holders that it will fine them if they fail to meet the deadline for launching the new service. According to The Jakarta Post quoting Communications and Information Ministry Post and Telecommunications Director General Basuki Yusuf Iskandar, said: ‘If by the end of the year they have not begun their 3G services then they will be fined.’ In addition to Excel, UMTS concessions have been issued to PT Telkomsel, PT Indosat, PT Natrindo Telepon Sulalar and PT Hutchison CP Telecommunication. Under the terms of their licence awards each is required to provide a 3G service to at least 10% of their coverage capacity in at least two provinces. Telkomsel launched its commercial operation last week, while the other three operators hope to begin services next year.