LIVE FROM 5G ASIA, SINGAPORE: Indonesia-based XL Axiata pitched 5G as an attractive replacement for fibre in specific fixed wireless access (FWA) conditions, as it extends its footprint nationwide.
Rob Langton, head of the operator’s home broadband business (pictured, right), said 5G is “a great solution”, arguing there is an opportunity for FWA to complement its FTTH network. He noted it faces severe challenges on the fixed side, for example in getting permits to dig up roads, which makes 5G very compelling.
From a consumer perspective, however, he noted “5G isn’t very important right now”.
Since Indonesia is a low-ARPU market, trying to get customers to spend more is challenging, he said. “We learned this with 4G. Customers didn’t have 4G devices for many years and we didn’t have wide coverage. We ended up pulling back on promotions. It’s a learning we will take to 5G: if you can’t add extra value, don’t offer.”
He believes it is unrealistic to think customers will spend more on a new wireless technology, adding rising uptake of 4G had boosted ARPU, “but capex had to be increased, so profitability is not up”.
In addition to lack of consumer appetite to pay more for high-speed services, there are issues around 5G spectrum. The government hasn’t decided which bands to use, with key 5G bands used by other sectors, he said.
With the biggest opportunity still in the consumer segment, Langton said XL Axiata needs to work around convergence, predicting cloud gaming will be big in three years, driven by quality fixed and mobile networks.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back