Indonesian operator Smartfren Telecom expanded its TDD-FDD LTE network to 85 cities as it moves to boost its 4G user base from 1.3 million to five million by the end of the year.

The operator, one of the smallest in Indonesia with less than a 4 per cent market share, said in September it launched LTE-Advanced service in 11 cities in western Indonesia, including Jakarta, and claimed it was the first to deploy a TDD-FDD network in the country (using both unpaired TDD spectrum and paired FDD airwaves).

It has 30MHz of TDD 2.3GHz spectrum and 20MHz of 800MHz FDD airwaves, and said last month it aims to deploy 11,000 4G base stations nationwide this year.

Smartfren, with about 12.6 million total mobile connections, is using two equipment vendors. Nokia is installing base stations in the west — greater Jakarta, West Java and Sumatra – while ZTE is covering the east — Central Java, East Java, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan and Sulawesi.

Competition in the 4G space has intensified over the past few months as the country’s three major 4G players traded claims and accusations as they sped up deployments of LTE networks.

Market leader Telkomsel said in November it planned to expand 4G coverage from 10 to 14 cities by the end of last year and claimed the widest network coverage, while second ranked Indosat Ooredoo was targeting 20 cities by year-end. Number four XL planned 4G service in 36 cities by the end of last year and said it has the country’s fastest 4G speeds.

Indosat and XL announced plans last week to share their 4G infrastructure in a number of cities. The partnership is the country’s first network-sharing arrangement.