Indonesian TD-LTE wireless broadband start-up Internux, trading under the ‘Bolt! Super 4G’ brand, has signed up 750,000 customers in the ten months since its commercial launch in Jakarta, its CTO Devid Gubiani told the LTE Asia conference, reported by Mobile World Live. More than 90% of Bolt! broadband customers are using Mi-Fi personal hotspot devices, the executive stated, adding that average connection speeds were currently around 12.5Mbps. Following its 4Q13 launch, Bolt! covered much of Greater Jakarta and Bogor by April 2014 with its TD-LTE network, by which date it had already signed up around 400,000 users. It is licensed only for Greater Jakarta and neighbouring province Banten (having been awarded a 2×10MHz 2.3GHz band concession in 2009, originally earmarked for WiMAX). The traditional base station network configuration is boosted by small cells (10-15 metres high) mainly aimed at improving indoor coverage, with 98% of all cell sites connected by fibre, and with the aim of reaching access speeds of up to 40Mbps. In August 2014 Bolt! introduced Indonesia’s first two 4G LTE smartphones on an active commercial network, which retail for USD150 and USD250. It does not currently provide voice services directly over its TD-LTE network, instead using wholesale access to a rival’s 2G mobile network for voice, and the CTO confirmed that at present users require a separate SIM card to access voice services.
To deal with soaring data demand (and having suffered congestion problems due to faster-than expected take-up in Q1 2014), Bolt! implemented dual-carrier technology (‘with an additional 2×5MHz spectrum’) and added another 300 base stations to an existing 1,800 cell sites in Q2, and is now concentrating on rolling out small cells. Gubiani also admitted Bolt! will soon reach the limits of its mobile broadband-only model and is preparing to launch voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and video broadcast.