Indonesia’s second and fourth largest operators – Indosat Ooredoo and XL Axiata – announced plans to share their 4G infrastructure in a number of cities.
The partnership, which will see the two operators share their radio access networks (RANs) in Banjarmasin, Banyumas, Batam and Surakarta, is the country’s first network-sharing arrangement.
The two operators, which had discussed network sharing for two years, said they plan to expand the deal to other cities to support Indonesia’s digital economy agenda. They also aim to expand the partnership to include core network sharing.
The country’s telecoms minister urged operators earlier in the month to share network infrastructure to make the industry more efficient and sustainable.
Minister Rudiantara (who goes by one name like many Indonesians) also threatened to revoke “some” mobile licences in the country unless operators merge or step up their efforts in building out high-speed networks.
Indosat CEO and president Alexander Rusli said the cooperation will enable it to offer better service by providing wider 4G coverage as well as support the government’s programme to build a digital economy. “Through this initiative we also support the efforts of the government to reduce imports in foreign currency as well as enable the company to be more efficient,” Rusli said.
XL president director Dian Siswarini said “the use of shared infrastructure will improve operational efficiency and bring benefits to our customers”.
Indosat has a 21 per cent share of the country’s mobile connections, while XL has a 12 per cent share, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Indosat, which has about 2.1 million 4G connections, rolled out LTE service under the 4Gplus brand in 20 cities in November and planned to reach 35 cities by year-end.
XL said in November it expected to offer 4G in at least 36 cities by the end of the year. XL had nearly 3.2 million 4G connections at the end of 2015, according to GSMA Intelligence.