Jakarta


Many Americans would have been surprised that Jakarta was the largest contributor of tweets, a city. I was not. It is a large city (10 million), phones with QWERTY interfaces are all the rage, and Bahasa Indonesia uses the Roman characters. What surprised me was Riyadh. It is not an extraordinarily large city (4.
A study by Professor Rajat Kathuria, ICRIER and International Management Institute New Delhi, is now available. In the paper, Professor Kathuria seeks to assess the impact of decline of leased line prices in Indonesia. It tries to capture this impact through qualitative as well as quantitative impacts. Since the decline in prices occurred recently (2008 April), the period post the decline is not large enough to do a meaningful time series analysis. However, qualitative assessment is made and the impact is compared with India, where decline in leased line prices led to substantial benefits to user industries.
Indonesia Telecom Regulator, Badan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesia (BRTI) rewarded telecom operators and stakeholders in a ceremony held on Nov 10 at Hotel Borobudur. Bakrie Telecom (Btel) received the Best Achievement Award for fixed line category, and Indosat was the best in cellular category. The selections were said to be based on consumer satisfaction and brand popularity (55% marks) and network performance (45%) and conducted by an independent research institution Frontier. The winners: Best Achievement Award (Fixed Line): Bakrie Telecom, Runner up: PT Telkom Best Achievement Award (Cellular): PT Indosat, Runner up: Excelcomindo Pratama Award of Appreciation (Print Media): “Bisnis Indonesia” Award of Appreciation (Broadcast Media): Metro TV Award of Appreciation (Online Media): detikcom (detikINET) Lifetime Achievement: Arnold P. Djiwatampu (Reported by Juni Soehardjo in Jakarta)
Four Indonesia Telecom players were honoured at the 2008 Frost & Sullivan Indonesia Telecoms Awards in Jakarta on Tuesday. The Awards ceremony was inaugurated by Giri Suseno Hadihardjono, Chairman, Masyarakat Telematika Indonesia (MASTEL). Over one hundred industry leaders and the telecom industry’s well known personalities were present at this ceremony. Companies honoured (see below), says Frost & Sullivan, are forerunners in the ICT space in Indonesia whose best practices in operations are recognised as exemplary. Vendor category Telecom Equipment Vendor of the Year – PT Nokia Siemens Networks Service Provider category Broadband Service Provider of the Year – PT Indosat, Tbk Mobile Service Provider of the Year – PT Excelcomindo Pratama, Tbk Mobile Data Service Provider of the Year – PT Telekomunikasi Selular, Tbk Best of the best category Market Challenger of the Year –  PT Excelcomindo Pratama, Tbk Service Provider of the Year – PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, Tbk See here for more details.
Yesterday, 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia, with its Indonesian partner, the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP), held the final HazInfo workshop at the Hotel Borobudur in Jakarta, Indonesia. The “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop included several highlights such as a testimonial from an Aceh survivor of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami; informative presentations from the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang, GTZ-GITEWS, Bureau of Meteorology and Geophysics (BMG) and the University of Syiah Kuala, Aceh. The workshop encouraged animated discussion on the importance of community-based early warning systems, training, and the necessity for information to follow warning.
On 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia in partnership with the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP) will hold the third and final “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop at the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rohan Samarajiva, Natasha Udu-gama and Nuwan Waidyanatha will participate and speak at the event alongside several Indonesian speakers from various governmental, community-based and international NGOs such as BAKORNAS PB, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang and GTZ GITEWS. As in past HazInfo workshops in India and Bangladesh, the Indonesia workshop will not only discuss findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information” pilot project, but also exchange lessons learned from Indonesian counterparts.
Divakar Goswami made a presentation at Indonesia’s ICT 2007 Summit and Technoconference in Jakarta on May 3, 2007 organized by the President’s ICT Council, the Indonesian ICT Ministry, the Chamber of Commerce and MASTEL, the telecom industry association. In his presentation titled Backbone of convergence: Getting the foundation right, Divakar argued that without sufficient “big pipes” (domestic and international backbone) the potential of convergence and NGN services will not be realized. Indonesia’s inadequate international backbone infrastructure and high prices have acted as a bottleneck to the development of the Internet in the country. For example, Indonesia’s international private leased line circuit (IPLC) to Singapore costs 21 times the price of equivalent service from India based on route kilometers. Divakar contented that the Government’s plan of licensing one additional international operator will neither stimulate international gateway infrastructure nor bring down international bandwidth prices sufficiently.
Licenses have been granted to consortium members for building the Palapa Ring–backbone that will connect the Eastern part of Indonesia that currently relies on satellites with the rest of the country. It is not clear how the licenses were granted and what are the fees and obligations of the license holders. Furthermore, technical and financial feasibility studies are yet to be completed. No access regimes have been developed that will govern how non-consortium members will be able to access the Palapa Ring and on what terms. There couldn’t be a worse possible way of launching such a complex, capital-intensive project that is supposed to transform the ICT infrastructure of Indonesia.
Hutch’s entry into Indonesia’s mobile market as the 5th significant operator has started putting downward pressure on mobile calling prices, as I had predicted in my Oped piece Lower mobile prices: Through competition or profit regulation? in January of 2007. It is too early to call it a “price war” as the article below does, but the signs that prices are coming down is evident. Indonesia’s mobile retail prices are some of the highest in Asia and there is enough room for the prices to drop further. Currently, Hutch’s competitors are reacting by issuing promotions to match the new entrant’s offering, but this does not per se signify a permanent cut in prices.
Most Indonesians access the Internet primarily using fixed wireline infrastructure, mostly dialup. Because of lack of competition in the fixed line sector due to various reasons fixed line growth has been stagnant which has also affected Internet growth in the country. Not only are no new lines being added to bring more homes online, the inadequate backbone infrastructure in large swathe of the country makes deployment of broadband services unviable even if incumbent’s local loop bottleneck could be bypassed. However, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (March 15, 2007) seems to suggest that high speed 3G wireless technology like HSDPA can bring broadband on a large scale to Indonesians. It (misleadingly) implies that since HSDPA is merely a software upgrade to 3G networks it will not require any new major telecom infrastructure investment in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government imposed unreasonable burdens on the new entrant for international service in a recently issued White Paper 140. LIRNEasia highlighted the unfairness of burdening new entrants with obligations that the two existing incumbents (Telkom & Indosat) were not subjected too in comments it submitted to DGPOSTEL (one of the two regulatory bodies): 4.4 The Indonesian policymakers may have misunderstood the concept of asymmetric regulation. Asymmetric rules place additional burdens on dominant group of providers that other operators are not subjected to. In the current White Paper, many additional burdens are imposed on the new entrant that are not imposed on the two incumbents, PT Telkom & PT Indosat.
Thailand conducted tsunami preparedness drills in 2005. Now Indonesia has too. Organizations such as Sarvodaya/LIRNEasia in Sri Lanka have conducted drills, but isn’t it time the government got involved directly? Northwest Herald – Asian nations remember those killed in 2004 natural disaster Indonesia said its tsunami drill on Bali was aimed at raising the public’s awareness of safety measures and testing technology deployed over the last two years.Warnings were sent from the capital, Jakarta, to radios along the beach.
The strong quake off Taiwan’s coast on December 26 damaged six separate submarine cables and severely disrupted telecom links in the East, Southeast and South Asia. Internet connectivity in a number of countries are either down or are slowed down thanks to taffic that is being rerouted over networks that have escaped damage. Most of Jakarta (Indonesia) and Pondicherry (Southern India) have been without Internet until this afternoon (Dec 27) at least. In our office in Sri Lanka, SLT’s ADSL connection (though congested) is working. However, Lankacom’s leased line is down since it probably connects to the Internet backbone via Singapore.
Indonesia’s telecom industry association and regulatory authority requested the participation of LIRNEasia at a seminar in Jakarta to address two key issues: 1) what telecom investors are looking for from the regulatory and policy environment in the country; 2) a review of current policy and regulatory challenges facing the Indonesian telecom sector. Prof Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director addressed the first issue in his presentation Enabling Investment: Lessons from the Region [PDF] and Divakar Goswami, Director of Organizational Development & Projects made a presentation, Telecom Reforms in Indonesia: Current Achievements and Challenges [PDF] to address the second issue. The final report from the presentations are available here [PDF]. The Seminar was organized by MASTEL, representing a wide spectrum of ICT industry representatives and by BRTI, the Indonesian regulatory authority. The audience consisted of commissioners from BRTI, policymakers from the Ministry of Communication and Information, representatives from the operators, industry associations and civil society groups.
The Indonesian Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Dr Sofyan Djalil, presented a number of new initiatives for removing the barriers to Internet growth in his country at Building Digital Communities forum session at the ITU World 2006 event in Hong Kong on December 7, 2006. Divakar Goswami, LIRNEasia’s Director, Organizational and Projects, who was moderating the panel asked the following question: One of the first achievements of your government was to delicense the 2.4 GHz frequency that allowed communities to use Wi-Fi extensively in the country. Despite that, Indonesia currently has Internet penetration of 0.69 percent.
  Leased Line Tariffs to be Regulated Bisnis Indonesia, September 27, 2006 JAKARTA: The Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) will regulate the tariffs for leased lines through a ministerial decree, which is expected to be signed end of this year. The regulator most likely will force network operators to lower leased line tariffs by more than 50 percent to push internet penetration in Indonesia. BRTI said this in a public meeting with Mastel, internet service providers, and network operators yesterday. Heru Sutadi, a member of BRTI, expected a decline of more than 50% in the tariffs will increase ICT usage, internet interconnection, telephone penetration and increase the number of internet users in Indonesia. “The regulator expects the decline in leased line tariffs will be followed by the acceleration of local internet content, so that bandwidth doesn’t get used outside the country and internet tariffs can drop significantly,” he said yesterday.
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