Indonesia, a country with nearly 410 million mobile connections, experienced rapid uptake of 4G services over the past year, with connections increasing 2.5-times and LTE penetration hitting 21 per cent.

The country’s 4G connections jumped from 34 million in Q3 2016 to 85.5 million in Q3 2017, according to data from GSMA Intelligence (GSMAi). LTE penetration in Q3 2016 stood 7.9 per cent.

To support the growth, mobile operators almost doubled the number of 4G base stations deployed in the opening six months of 2017, with 55,700 sites at end-July compared with 26,000 at end-2016, Jakarta Globe reported. According to the Ministry of Communications, Information and Technology, 4G coverage reached 257 districts and municipalities ny end-July, up from 58 at end-2016.

Market leader Telkomsel saw its 4G subcriber base jump from 11.9 million in Q3 2016 to 30.7 million in Q3 2017, with LTE penetration rising to 17 per cent, GSMAi data showed.

XL Axiata, the country’s fourth largest operator, enjoyed the highest 4G penetration (39.5 per cent) at end-September, with 19.9 million subscribers at end-Q3, an increase of 11 million year-on-year.

Number two player Indosat Ooredoo’s 4G subscribers nearly tripled year-on-year to 14.9 million, meaning 15 per cent of its total susbcriber base are on 4G plans. Third-ranked 3 Indonesia posted the fastest 4G growth between Q3 2016 and the recent quarter, with subscriber numbers climbing from 1.8 million to 8.8 million. Its LTE penetration stood at 13 per cent.

With the country auctioning off 50MHz of spectrum in the 2.1GHz and 2.3GHz bands this month, operators will have more bandwidth to boost their 4G capacity and coverage to keep up with the brisk demand.