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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   16  December 2010

Indonesia's top mobile operator thinks green

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Indonesia's largest mobile telecommunications operator plans to launch a new generation of base transceiver stations that will reduce carbon dioxide and other gas emissions and improve the company's efficiency.

The technology will allow Telekomunikasi Selular, better known as Telkomsel, to hitch BTSs on existing structures, such as billboard towers and traffic lights, instead of erecting regular telecommunications towers, said Ricardo Indra, general manager of corporate communications.

The new tower-less BTSs will be launched in Bali in January, after which Telkomsel will introduce them to other cities such as Jakarta, Medan and Surabaya, he said.

"The company has operated a trial program in Bali since last month and will launch it early next year," Ricardo said.

Telkomsel has placed the new BTSs at two sites in Bali. Next year the company plans to extend the trial program to 36 sites across the island.

"As a company with majority stakes held by the public, we are not only thinking about business, but also about how to improve the country's welfare," Ricardo said.

While he declined to share the investment figure, he said the eco-friendly BTSs cost about twice as much to install as regular ones.

He added that 9,000 of the company's 35,000 BTSs, about 25 percent, currently operate on green technologies such as solar cells and micro-hydro systems.

Ricardo said Telkomsel had the highest number of eco-friendly BTSs in Indonesia, and probably in Asia. According to a press release, the company has cut emissions by 1,300 tons of carbon dioxide this year.

Heru Sutadi, commissioner of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Body (BRTI), said the government had recently drafted a development guide governing the use of telecommunications towers to avoid excessive building of the unsightly structures.

One stipulation in the regulation directs tower owners to allow competing companies to utilize any unused capacity.

The concept of using tower-less BTSs is not new, but Telkomsel's use of fiber-optic technology in the transceiver station is a step forward, Heru said, adding that the company would be able to transmit data faster as well as reduce overall costs.

Telkomsel has more than 94 million subscribers in Indonesia.

The company is owned by Telekomunikasi Indonesia (51 percent) and Indosat (49 percent).

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