This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in telecommunications, broadcasting and pay TV markets in Indonesia and Timor Leste. Subjects covered include:
Market and Industry Overviews
Major Players (fixed and mobile)
Mobile Voice and Data Markets
Internet, VoIP, IPTV
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless)
Convergence and Digital Media
Indonesia, a country of more than 220 million people, continues to see its telecom sector grow in a busy manner despite the occasional setback. The country has some particularly big challenges to confront in building the necessary telecommunications infrastructure to cover its uniquely complex geography. It must also deal with a range of social, political and economic issues. Having rebounded reasonably well from the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, the government has been gradually reshaping the telecom industry. The country is now seeing healthier growth in both subscriber numbers and in revenues. Whilst Indonesia’s fixed-line teledensity has remained disconcertingly low (less than 6% in early), a move by incumbent Telkom to rapidly roll out Wireless Local Loop (WLL) services to provide for unserved communities is looking promising and should boost teledensity.
The country’s mobile market has continued to expand and by early 2006 the mobile sector was growing at around 60%; the subscriber base had passed 45 million (penetration 19%), up from 3.6 million subscribers just five years earlier. Whilst mobile penetration has quickly raced past 10%, there is enormous potential remaining for further growth in this market. The government has already chosen a company, Cyber Access Communications, to provide the country with its first 3G network. There is certain to be considerable interest in this project.
In a reminder of the events of the late 1990s, the rupiah slid to a more than four-year low against the US dollar in August 2005. This sort of event can be a problem for the operators, the bulk of whose revenue is in rupiah, while investment costs are mostly in US dollars. A weaker rupiah could see operators suffering foreign exchange losses, depending on their gearing arrangements. The country has continued to struggle to attract foreign investment in recent years, with potential investors expressing concerns over the twin issues of corruption and government red tape. This naturally has had an impact on the telecom sector, which desperately needs foreign investment to help build infrastructure. Foreign direct investment into Indonesia fell 26% year on year in 2004 to US$10.3 billion. Ironically, the weakening rupiah in 2005, together with evidence of a more stable government, increased the country’s investment prospects and actually saw foreign investment jump 74% in the first half of the year.
The tiny fledgling nation of Timor Leste(East Timor) experienced further political instability and outbreaks of violence in the first half of 2006. To the observer, the country had appeared to have got off to a solid start in rebuilding its entire infrastructure following the turbulence that ensued after the referendum of 1999. However, it remains difficult to assess the long term impact of the events of 2006 on such things as infrastructure building. Following the 1999 crisis, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) provided overall administrative and financial assistance during the period up until elections were held in April 2002. The United Nations finally completed its role in early 2005. The new government was looking to gain ongoing assistance from the international community in putting strong systems in place. Telecommunications remains an important priority under a newly established Ministry of Transport, Communication & Public Works. In July 2002, the East Timor government selected Portugal Telecom to be the lead partner in a consortium to operate Timor Telecom. The new operator replaced Telstra in March 2003 and set about expanding the countries telecom facilities.
It is noted that East Timor (also known as Timor Leste) is yet to be listed as a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This makes it difficult to obtain official statistics on the country’s telecom sector. Where official Statistics are not available, BuddeComm will normally provide an estimate.
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