ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
XL subscribers in Bandung, Jakarta to enjoy 4G services
Telecommunications firm XL Axiata says that its 1,800 MHz 4G/LTE services will likely be available in Bandung, West Java by the end of the month, while subscribers in Jakarta may enjoy the service in November after the company concludes its nationwide band refarming.
“There have been minimal obstacles in the refarming process. That’s why we are confident to say that we are able to have 4G/LTE services operating in Bandung by the end of October, and in Jakarta by November,” XL Axiata CEO Dian Siswarini told reporters at the XL office in Central Jakarta on the sidelines of the company’s 19th anniversary celebrations late last week.
In the nationwide band refarming, major telecommunication companies XL, Telkomsel, Indosat and 3 have been involved in preparing regions with structural capability to support 4G/LTE services.
Dian said that XL’s band refarming process had reached Central Java and would conclude in November.
Dian assured that despite the introduction of 4G/LTE services, there would be no changes to the existing 2G network service “since our 4G band does not need to reuse or recycle any of the 2G frequencies.”
The four firms have been in the process of band refarming for 1,800 MHz since May starting from Papua, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Bali, Nusa Tenggara and ending in Java. The last region to be refarmed will be Greater Jakarta because it is the most crowded in usage terms.
According to Dian, XL will only provide the 4G/LTE services in select cities considering different market potentials and smartphone penetration.
“Smartphone usage in Indonesia is not spread evenly. That is why the potential for usage is only feasible in several [major] cities. We also have to look at our customer database to see which markets would be the best bets,” she added.
XL launched its initial 1,800 MHz 4G/LTE services in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara in July and followed with Denpasar in Bali and Surabaya in East Java.
The Communications and Information Technology Ministry had set a deadline for the band refarming on Nov. 23.
Around 1.2 million XL users are actively using the carrier’s current 4G network, which operates on the 900MHz frequency. However, consumers have complained that 4G services on the 900 MHz frequency are not much faster than then those running on the 3G network.
In another development regarding the government’s recent plan to tighten procedures on
the purchase of mobile SIM cards, Dian said that her company had prepared for the regulation in terms of its data systems and forging standard operating procedures (SOPs) with retail outlets to make them aware of the regulation.
XL’s data system, said Dian, was prepared to register customers’ identities on a large scale in preparation for the deadline. Informational awareness efforts have been taking place since May 2015.
“We have completed the first phase on information dissemination to our retail outlet partners over mandatory ID requirement upon the purchase of SIM cards. The phase is still ongoing,” Dian said.
The ministry and the Telecommunications Regulatory Body (BRTI) issued a regulation in September, requiring customers to show an ID upon the purchase of prepaid SIM cards starting Dec. 15.
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