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180 million Mobile Users to be affected by Reallocation

By: Azzahra Jefri

Jakarta - Indonesian Telecommunications Regulation Body (BRTI) has warned that as many as 180 million mobile phone users in the country will be affected by "network problems" while using their phones until the 31st of December 2015.

There are currently issues of reallocation of 1800MHz frequencies by the country’s largest telecommunications operator – XL Axiata, a subsidiary of Axis Capital Group of companies, Telkomsel, Indosat and Hutchison 3 Indonesia. The reallocation may affect voice calls, SMS and data services that use either GPRS or EDGE technology on the cellcos’ systems. The frequency allocation process started before April 14, 2015 and with millions of people using mobile phones daily, it would take long before it can be finished. BRTI’s minister has already issued a decree for the involved companies to inform users about the possibility of the drop of service quality during the roughly nine-month period to avoid complaints and loss of revenue.

So far, the 1800MHz spectrum with a bandwidth of 75MHz has been home to 180 million mobile phone users, for 2G access, who are served by Telkomsel (22.5MHz), XL Axiata (22.5MHz), Indosat (20MHz), and Hutchison 3 Indonesia (10MHz).

The reallocation will eventually be used for 4G LTE which provides much higher speed for mobile devices.

Telkomsel wants reallocation to be performed gradually and carefully to avoid potential service quality drop towards 2G subscribers.

Moreover, 2G subscribers are Telkomsel's largest subscribers. Of total subscribers, 100 million are 2G service subscribers. This means majority of our subscribers are still utilizing 2G. Therefore, we pick location with the lowest traffic to prevent decrease in 2G service quality.

For initial phase, Telkomsel proposed Papua area to be migrated because Papua has the least risk of 2G service quality drop compared to other areas in West and Central parts of Indonesia.

The reallocation poses as a very big challenge for operators before migrating islands where 2G subscribers are larger. Reviews criticize this move as 100 million of 2G subscribers will be experiencing worse just because one million subscribers want to enjoy 4G in 1,800 MHz.

XL Axiata declared that they will obviously begin from location with the lowest traffic. Compared to Java, Bali, Lombok and some cities in Sumatera, Kalimantan and Sulawesi have the lowest service traffics.

Meanwhile, Alexander Rusli, President Director of Indosat, said the company and other operators as of now has yet to agree on cities or areas which have the least impact from service worsening if migration in 1,800 MHz is realized.

On the frequency rearrangement all operators have agreed on exercising third option—operator Hutchison 3 Indonesia will be shifted to position next to XL Axiata's channels. However, rearrangement mechanism has not been decided yet.

PT XL Axiata Tbk. is one of the major cellular providers in Indonesia. PT XL Axiata Tbk. is 66.5% owned by Axiata Group Berhad through Axiata Investments (Indonesia) Sdn Bhd and public 33.5%, and is part of Axiata Group with Robi (Bangladesh),Smart (Cambodia), Idea (India), Celcom (Malaysia), M1 (Singapore), SIM (Thailand) and Dialog (Sri Lanka).

Article Source: http://www.ArticleBiz.com