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March 15, 2009

Indonesia’s top telecom firm to launch iPhone 3G
PT Telkomsel, Indonesia’s largest cellular operator, is slated to sell the country’s first iPhone 3G mobile handset on March 20 at the Pacific Place shopping center in Jakarta, reported the Jakarta Post.

In its statement late on Thursday, the company said the handset would be available also at GraPARI outlets with a price starting at 2.62 million rupiah ($188) “iPhone 3G will redefine our consumers’ mobile phone experience,” said Telkomsel president director Sarwoto Atmosutarno.

In its statement, Telkomsel also said it would invest $1.5 billion this year to expand its 3G network.

Telkomsel was the first operator in Indonesia to launch 3G services in September 2006, and had the biggest 3G community with more than 9.2 million subscribers in  more than 140 cities.

Telkomsel has 69 million subscribers or more than 50 percent of the market share.

Telkomsel is 65 percent owned by state-run PT Telkom, the country’s largest telecommunications company. The remaining 35 percent is owned by Singapore Telecom Mobile Pte Ltd.

Facilities embedded in iPhone 3G have put the gadget in competition with Research in Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry and Nokia’s smart phones, which are designed for business users.

The arrival of the iPhone is likely to heat up competition among mobile operators tapping cash-rich business clients, who account for a smaller proportion of the market’s customer base. Indonesia’s cellular operators primarily target the market of middle to lower-income users, which accounts for an average of more than 70 percent of the customer base for cellular providers.

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