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Indonesia's mobile data services poised to boom

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile apps? data services? Indonesia?

According to Tavess, the Indonesian GSM market penetration is yet again expected to register around 12 percent growth rate in 2011. With approximately 80 percent penetration (for voice services), the market is, however, nearing saturation, and the number of double-digit growth years are counted.

The Indonesian GSM market, which maintains around 85 percent share of the mobile telecom market of the country, is mainly served by five network providers: Telkomsel, Indosat, XL, Hutch, and Axis. The first three in the list collectively enjoy nearly 90 percent of the total GSM subscriber base, including about 75 percent of the total enterprise customers.

Challenges
Despite registering significant increase in subscriber base and revenues, the operators, save XL, find it challenging to realize a proportionate rise in profits. This is mainly due to overly competitive pricings. Tavess believes that most service providers have realized this and hence does not expect to see any significant tariff play as a move to increase their bottomline. For some, high-churn rate has been a concern, mainly led by the 'starter-pack' that leaves a large room for switching carriers, underlining the need for quality in customer acquisition.

Other challenges ahead for the industry come with the regulatory authority's two major initiatives expected this yearthe lowering of inter-connect rates and bandwidth-based frequency fee rather than BTS-based fee. Both of these adversely impact the bottomline of the operators.

Opportunity: Data Services
While voice services have been and will continue to be the major revenue contributors, data and BlackBerry services have been observed to be important growth drivers in this market. XL, for instance, had its total revenue up by 20 percent over the previous year with data services contributing 30 percent, more than half of the increase, and expects this contribution to rise to 38C40 percent in 2011. This trend is expected to rise to the point of shifting the weight scale to data services away from voice services.

Tavess observes that the service-providers are repositioning their stand to better respond to this opportunity. Last year, Telkomsel and Indosat have requested for and obtained additional 3G-bandwidth, while XL and Axis, that received 3G license in 2006 and 2005, respectively, have requested for additional 3G bandwidth this year. The additional spectrum bandwidth is intended to strengthen network service capabilities enabling delivery of data services in increased volumes.


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