A war of words has erupted in Indonesia as the country’s major 4G players trade claims and accusations as they speed up deployments of LTE networks.

The country’s largest mobile operator Telkomsel reacted to claims by rival XL Axiata that its new 4G service in Jakarta on the newly refarmed 1.8GHz band “delivers the fastest LTE 4G internet services”. XL also questioned the quality of existing 4G services in the capital.

XL on Tuesday announced it launched 4G service in Jakarta and several other cities on the 1.8GHz band. It said in a statement “Jakarta has been in desperate need of data services and internet infrastructure that are adequate in quality”.

Hendri Mulya Sjam, SVP for LTE at Telkomsel, today said its 4G service has been available in the capital for more than a year on the 900MHz band, it has the widest network coverage and the most 4G users in the country — 1.8 million, reported Indotelko.com.

The operator, with a 46 per cent market share, said it has 1,300 4G base stations. In addition to Jakarta, Telkomsel offers 4G in Bali, Bandung, Medan, Surabaya, Makassar, Lombok, Manado, Batam and Yogyakarta.

XL, number three with a 14 per cent market share, said it has 1,577 4G base stations in greater Jakarta and targets covering almost all the area in 2016. It expects to offer 4G in at least 36 cities by the end of the year.

According to GSMA Intelligence, XL had 1.6 million connections at the end of September.

The country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has “re-stacked” its 1.8GHz spectrum in a phased approach that began in May to allocate contiguous spectrum in that band to four mobile operators – Telkomsel, Indosat, XL and Hutchison 3 Indonesia. The MCIT said the refarming was completed earlier this week, with Jakarta being the last city to be “re-stacked”.

Telkomsel and XL both have 22.5MHz of 1.8GHz airwaves. Number two operator Indosat has 20MHz and 3 Indonesia has 10MHz.