Indonesian mobile operator XL Axiata today launched a commercial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service in the 1800MHz band in Mataram, Lombok. The firm’s director of service management Ongki Kurniawan explained that the decision to choose Lombok was based on its ‘special relationship’ with the area. ‘Since entering this region, we [have built an] affinity [with the people living here]. People accept and have confidence in XL when it comes to their telecommunication needs, and [that relationship is] now evolving into data and internet services. Our market share currently stands at more than 85% in Lombok,’ he said, ahead of the official launch of the service in the area.
XL Axiata has deployed 14 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) in the Capital NTB area, as well as covering centres of government and business, and some shopping centres such as Mataram Mall. The cellco claims it can offer peak download speeds of 100Mbps on the new network which is supported by a range of affordable 4G handsets and devices from the likes of LG, Sony, Huawei, Sharp, Siemens and Lenovo. Its new service also supports Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) it says and, having launched in Mataram, XL Axiata is now looking to roll out 1800MHz BTS in Bandung, Surabaya, Denpasar and Jakarta later this year. Additionally, the operator notes that cities that already have 4G LTE service capability in the 900MHz band – namely Medan, Bogor, and Yogyakarta – will also benefit from 1800MHz services in the near future. To date, it claims to have deployed more than 200 LTE-900 BTS in these cities and has amassed a total of 200,000 4G subscribers.
In a separate development, XL Axiata rival PT Indosat claims that it is ready to accelerate its own 4G rollout throughout Indonesia. The cellco says its readiness to speed up its LTE deployment is thanks to its nationwide Indosat Network Modernisation programme which is designed ultimately to upgrade its entire infrastructure to support LTE with peak speeds of 185Mbps/41Mbps (down/uplink). The national programme kicked off two years ago, initially with the aim of boosting coverage, improving internet access speeds and providing clearer voice call quality (i.e. high definition voice) services. By the end of this year Indosat aims to have upgraded 42 cities and their environs (equivalent to districts/municipalities across Indonesia), under the expansion plan. IndoTelko quotes Indosat head of corporate communications, Fuad Fachroeddin, as saying that in April it launched its Super 4G-LTE service in Jakarta, Bandung, Yogyakarta and Bali, and aims to add other cities throughout Indonesia in the near future. ‘We are optimistic we will soon be able to accelerate the deployment of 4G LTE throughout Indonesia under the ongoing Network Modernisation programme,’ he said.