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Hutchison 3 Indonesia launches 4G LTE in six cities

CK Hutchison mobile subsidiary Hutchison 3 Indonesia (Tri) has launched its commercial 4G LTE service. The launch of the fastest networks in Indonesia was carried out exactly at Tri ninth anniversary in Indonesia.

The cellco’s president Randeep Singh Sekhon said it is ready to run a 4G network in six cities in Indonesia, namely Batam, Makassar, Pontianak, Jakarta, Bandung and Denpasar. “The new 4G service is not a plan, but we are ready,” said Randeep in a press conference in Jakarta.

The telco hopes that the ‘millennial generation’ will be at the forefront of people signing up to its LTE tariff plans. Randeep Singh Sekhon said: ‘We now have 55.5 million mobile customers which, based on our independently commissioned research, concluded that around 70% are aged 15 to 25 years. This is the next generation who will make the digital economy as one of the motors of growth of Indonesia’s development’.

Meanwhile, the cellco’s deputy director Muhammad Danny Buldansyah notes that 4G smartphone take-up is on the increase. Around 7% of all Tri users currently own a 4G-compatible device, compared with 2% to 3% last year.

Tri is confident of signing up 3 million 4G LTE subscribers in the short term. It has already deployed approximately 1,000 eNodeB (4G BTS) to support the new service, out of a total 39,054 BTS in service.

‘Our network is already modern, we could switch to 4G BTS-ready anywhere in a matter of hours. The six cities we chose were because the ecosystem is ripe there. If we see that there is demand, we will instantly turn on our 4G service in new locations,’ Buldansyah explained. That being said, the executive admitted that Tri Indonesia is rolling out 4G with a limited block of frequency at 1800MHz. The cellco holds 10MHz blocks in each of the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands but says it is currently only using 5MHz for 4G due to the capacity it still needs to service voice/SMS services.

‘I predict that with 5MHz, we can still serve 4G for the next two years,’ he said, adding: ‘It is our hope that the government will open up a tender for 3G frequencies, in which case our capacity constraints will be neutralised immediately.’

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