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2008 Asia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Indonesia and Timor Leste

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications markets in Indonesia and Timor Leste. Subjects covered include:

  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Regulatory Environment;
  • Major Players (fixed and mobile);
  • Infrastructure;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Internet, including VoIP;
  • Broadband (DSL, cable modem, wireless).
Researcher:- Peter Evans


Indonesia continues to see its telecommunications sector grow, despite the occasional setback. The country of around 250 million people is obviously a huge potential market; however, it has some particularly big challenges to confront in building the necessary telecommunications infrastructure to cover a uniquely complex geography. At the same time, the nation has had to deal with a range of social, political and economic issues that have been proving problematic.

The government has been gradually reshaping the telecom industry, a process that took on a new impetus following the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s. In more recent times, Indonesia has been experiencing healthy sustained growth in subscriber numbers and revenues. While fixed-line teledensity remains disconcertingly low (just over 8% in early 2008), the advent of fixed wireless services has boosted the growth rate in the last few years and provided much-needed basic telephone services to previously unserved communities. The roll-out of fixed wireless infrastructure has been well supported by the operators with Bakrie Telecom and PT Telkom leading the way. Although the statistics were somewhat imprecise, by end-2007 fixed wireless services made up about half the total fixed-line subscriber base.

In the meantime, Indonesia’s mobile market continues to grow, expanding at an annual rate of close to 50%. By early 2008 the total mobile subscriber base had passed 90 million, up from 12 million just six years earlier. While the country’s mobile penetration was suddenly approaching 40%, the industry view was that there was still considerable potential for further growth in the market. It was expected that the milestone of 120 million mobile subscribers would be reached by end-2008. At the same time market interest started to focus on the 3G services already being offered by five operators. Telkomsel was indeed making its presence felt in the market, claiming about 80% of the five million 3G subscribers at end-2007.

The number of Internet users in Indonesia was estimated at more than 25 million by early 2008, representing a relatively low penetration of 10%. The Internet subscription market was generally depressed with less than 4 million subscribers reported in early 2008. Broadband Internet access was virtually non-existent. While the government was continuing to promote greater use of online services, these efforts appeared to have little impact.

In a move that some observers felt could have a negative impact on investment in the country’s telecom sector, Indonesia’s competition watchdog, the KPPU, announced in May 2007 that there was evidence of cross-ownership of Indosat and Telkomsel that was violating the country’s anti-monopoly laws. The KPPU alleged that the cross-ownership by Singapore’s state-owned holding company Temasek in two of Indonesia’s mobile operators violated the 1999 anti-monopoly law. At the time, Temasek owned a 56% stake in Singapore Telecom, which had a 35% stake in PT Telkomsel. Temasek’s wholly-owned Singapore Technologies Telemedia controlled 75% of Asia Mobile Holdings, a company that owned 40% of PT Indosat. Together, PT Telkomsel and PT Indosat controlled more than 80% of the domestic mobile market. The issue subsequently underwent a process of resolution by the courts. By June 2008, the parties were waiting on a decision by the Supreme Court, after Temasek appealed a lower court’s adverse ruling.

Timor Leste (formerly East Timor)

The political instability and outbreaks of civil unrest that erupted in Timor Leste in April/May 2006 continued into the first half of 2007. Despite the election of a new government led by Nobel Peace Laureate Jose Ramos Horta in May/June 2007 opposition to the administration caused further outbreaks of violence and looting. To the outside observer, the country appeared to have started reasonably well in rebuilding its entire infrastructure following the turbulence that ensued after the referendum of 1999. However, the events of 2006/07 caused major concerns about the direction of the Timor Leste; it remained difficult to assess the long term impact of these events on the country’s fragile economy and the process of infrastructure building.

Then, in February 2008 President Ramos Horta was shot and severely wounded in an attack led by rebel Alfredo Reinado (who was allegedly involved in the unrest of April/May 2006). A short time later a convoy including Prime Minister Gusmao was fired upon. The Prime Minister was uninjured. Responding to the attacks, the government declared a state of emergency. President Ramos-Horta returned in April 2008, after receiving medical treatment in Australia. The state of emergency ended in May 2008, following the surrender of most of the rebels.

In the meantime, throughout this difficult political period, the country’s mobile sector was experiencing strong growth (over 50% in 2006; just on 50% in 2007), with mobile penetration reaching a low, but nonetheless significant, 7% milestone by end-2007. Fixed-line network expansion was generally languishing coming into 2008, with teledensity down around 0.3%. Although it was difficult to get accurate figures on the Internet market, it was evident that growth in this sector remained constricted and there was little optimism about online activity in the short term.

It is noted that Timor Leste has finally been listed as a member of the ITU. While the ITU does provide some information on this market, it has continued to be a difficult task to obtain official statistics for the country’s telecom sector. Where official statistics are not available, BuddeComm will normally provide an estimate.

Key highlights:

  • Indonesia’s mobile market passed 90 million subscribers in early 2008 with penetration running at about 37%.
  • After more than seven straight years of strong growth, the annual increase in mobile subscribers was almost 50%.
  • Indonesia’s 3G market was still in its infancy two years after launch, with 3G subscribers representing only about 4% of the total mobile subscriber base.
  • Mobile market leader Telkomsel had made a big impact on the still small 3G market with 80% of the five million subscribers coming into 2008.
  • Internet penetration remained low (10% user penetration by end-2007) and Internet subscription rates were considerably lower.
  • Broadband Internet access numbers in Indonesia were starting to grow, but penetration remained low (0.1%).
  • The year 2007 again proved positive for Timor Leste’s mobile market, with growth surging by almost 50% for the second consecutive year; penetration had reached 7% by early 2008.
  • On the broader scene, however, the ongoing political and civil unrest in the country continued into 2008 and was a major distraction for government, providing a serious disruption to development programs and infrastructure building.
Note: Coverage provided of Timor Leste’s telecoms market is relatively limited due to its early development stage.

Comparative key indicators: Indonesia and Timor Leste - 2007
Indicator Indonesia Timor Leste
Population 245.0 million 1.2 million
GDP at Current prices1 US$488 billion US$0.5 billion
GDP per capita1 US$2,000 US$500
GDP real growth rate1 6% 3%
Mobile penetration 37% 7%
Broadband penetration 0.1% -
Fixed-line penetration 8% 0.3%
(Source: BuddeComm) Note: 1estimates for 2008.
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Indonesia
1.1 Key statistics
1.2 Telecommunications market
1.2.1 Overview of Indonesia’s telecom market
1.3 Regulatory environment
1.3.1 Telecommunications Law 2000
1.3.2 Telecommunications Law 1989
1.3.3 Tariffs
1.3.4 Privatisation process
1.4 Major fixed network operators in Indonesia
1.4.1 PT Telkom Indonesia
1.4.2 PT Indonesian Satellite Corporation (Indosat)
1.4.3 PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia (SATELINDO)
1.4.4 PT Bakrie Telecom
1.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
1.5.1 National infrastructure
1.5.2 International infrastructure
1.6 Internet market
1.6.1 Overview
1.6.2 ISP market
1.7 Broadband market
1.7.1 Overview
1.7.2 First Media
1.7.3 TelkomNet
1.7.4 Wireless broadband
1.8 E-Services
1.8.1 E-Commerce
1.9 Broadcasting market
1.9.1 Overview
1.9.2 Regulatory environment
1.9.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) TV
1.9.4 Cable and pay TV
1.9.5 Satellite TV
1.10 Mobile communications
1.10.1 Overview of Indonesia’s mobile market
1.10.2 Mobile technologies
1.10.3 Major mobile operators
1.10.4 Mobile voice services
1.10.5 Mobile data services
1.11 Forecasts
1.11.1 Overview
1.11.2 Forecasts - fixed-line market to 2017
1.11.3 Forecasts - Internet services to 2017
1.11.4 Forecasts - mobile market to 2017
2. Timor Leste
2.1 Key statistics
2.2 Telecommunications market
2.2.1 Overview of Timor Leste’s telecom market
2.3 Regulatory environment
2.3.1 United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET)
2.3.2 National telecommunications policy
2.3.3 Autoridade Reguladora das Comunicaçóes (ARCOM)
2.4 Fixed network operators in Timor Leste
2.4.1 Telstra
2.4.2 Timor Telecom
2.5 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.5.1 International infrastructure
2.6 Internet market
2.6.1 Overview
2.6.2 VoIP
2.7 Broadcasting market
2.7.1 Overview
2.8 Mobile communications
2.8.1 Overview of Timor Leste’s mobile market
3. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Exhibites
Table 1 - Country statistics Indonesia - 2008
Table 2 - Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2007
Table 3 - Telephone network statistics - 2007
Table 4 - Internet user statistics - 2007
Table 5 - Broadband statistics - 2007
Table 6 - Mobile statistics - 2007
Table 7 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 8 - PT Indosat fixed wireless subscribers - 2006 - 2007
Table 9 - National network statistics and annual growth - 2005 - 2007
Table 10 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2007
Table 11 - Fixed lines subscribers and annual change by operator - 2007
Table 12 - PT Telkom fixed lines in service - 2005 - 2007
Table 13 - Five-year USO deployment of lines plan for villages - 2006 - 2010
Table 14 - Fixed wireless (WLL) subscribers by operator - 2007
Table 15 - PT Telkom fixed wireless subscribers - 2007
Table 16 - Internet users - 1998 - 2008
Table 17 - Internet subscribers - 1998 - 2008
Table 18 - Registered domain names - January 2005
Table 19 - Number of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses allocated in Indonesia - 1999 - 2007
Table 20 - Number of Internet licences by type - 2007
Table 21 - Broadband subscribers and households - 2007
Table 22 - Broadband subscribers - 2000 - 2007
Table 23 - DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2007
Table 24 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2007
Table 25 - TV households and home satellites - 1997 - 2007
Table 26 - Pay TV subscribers - cable and satellite - 2001 - 2007
Table 27 - Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2008
Table 28 - 3G mobile operators and subscribers - 2007
Table 29 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual growth - 2007
Table 30 - Mobile subscribers and market share by operator - 2007
Table 31 - Telkomsel postpaid and prepaid subscribers and market share - 1999 - 2007
Table 32 - Telkomsel post/prepaid ARPU, annual change, subscribers & annual growth - 2007
Table 33 - Telkomsel subscribers - postpaid and prepaid - 2001 - 2007
Table 34 - Prepaid subscribers - selected operators - 2007
Table 35 - Forecast fixed-line growth and penetration - lower forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 36 - Forecast fixed-line growth and penetration - higher forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 37 - Forecast Internet subscribers & penetration - lower forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 38 - Forecast Internet subscribers & penetration - higher forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 39 - Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration - lower forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 40 - Forecast mobile subscribers and penetration - higher forecast - 2007; 2012; 2017
Table 41 - Country statistics Timor Leste - 2008
Table 42 - Telephone network statistics - 2007
Table 43 - Internet provider statistics - 2007
Table 44 - Internet user statistics - 2007
Table 45 - Mobile statistics - 2007
Table 46 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 47 - Fixed lines in service - 1995; 1998 - 2000; 2003 - 2007
Table 48 - Internet subscribers - 2003 - 2007
Table 49 - Mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2007
Exhibit 1 - Original consortia and KSO operating in each geographical zone
Exhibit 2 - Indonesian satellites - 2007
Exhibit 3 - Major FTA television broadcasters, ownership, launch date and coverage

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