I was in the town of Timika in Papua when I met high rank officials from Telkomsel, Indonesia's largest mobile operator, sometimes in 2007. I gave a short speech before them and other guests, and shared my stories when I was traveling overseas. I told them that mobile operators from our neighboring countries had started venturing out overseas and acquiring some mobile operators in countries like Cambodia, Srilanka, India, Bangladesh, and Philippines, while there's not even one Indonesian mobile operator that did the same.

I did not have a good response from them but merely an old classic answer, "But we are focusing on domestic market".

One should understand that Indonesia's many mobile operators are well-experienced and possessing world-class infrastructures and latest technology with good services. You may go to many countries outside Indonesia and you'll find it difficult even to get a new number on top of your credit. Indonesia mobile operators are so much ready to expand its operation beyond borders.

I am overwhelmed that finally my wish comes true. PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Indonesia’s biggest phone firm, the mother company of Telkomsel, has said that it is looking at acquisitions in Southeast Asia as it sees its domestic market maturing.

Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, has become one of the world’s most crowded telecommunications markets, with 11 operators fighting for custom in a population of 237 million.

Telkom, which rarely comments on regional expansion, tried last year to acquire a stake in Iran Telecom but failed as it lacked backing from Indonesia’s government.

It is but said earlier that it sees capital expenditure in 2011 at about US$2 billion.

Telkom needs to invest heavily in telecoms infrastructure such as towers, and is also shifting its focus to data services to earn higher profits as Indonesian subscriber growth slows.

Indonesians has seen its domestic telecom operators being acquired or established by foreign companies, and has been reluctant to go for expansion. Now, it is the time to fight back.

(Akhyari Hananto)

Source: The Malaysian Insider

 

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