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June 7, 2008

Indosat: mobile users up 22% in Jan-May

PT Indosat Tbk, Indonesia's second-largest mobile phone operator, said the number of subscribers rose 22 percent to 30 million in the first five months, putting the firm well on track to meet its 2008 target, reported Reuters.

President director Johnny Swandi Sjam, late on Thursday, reiterated Indosat's target to sign up 8 million new users this year, even though consumer spending is expected to be hit by the recent rise in fuel prices.

That rise in subscribers would bring the total number to 32.5 million at the end of 2008, up from 24.5 million at the end of last year.

"We are optimistic in achieving 8 million new mobile phone users for this year, despite the fact consumer purchasing power has been hit by the increase in fuel prices," Sjam told reporters.

Analysts and industry experts have previously predicted that the total number of cellular phone customers in Indonesia would climb to 120 million by the end of this year, from around 90 million at the end of 2007.

Asia Mobile Holdings, controls around 40 percent of Indosat. ST Telemedia, a unit of Singapore's Temasek Holdings, has a 75 percent stake in Asia Mobile Holdings, while Qatar Telecom controls 25 percent.

Indonesia's government raised subsidised fuel prices by nearly 30 percent last month, a move that's expected to push up inflation and curb consumption.

Analysts warned this could affect cellular phone usage by subscribers in the lower-income groups.

More than 90 percent of mobile phone customers in Indonesia use pre-paid cards. Such users are more price-sensitive and likely to switch to competing operators who offer cheaper tariffs.

More on Indonesia


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