Mobile-8, Bakrie get new licenses

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government has granted new licenses to PT Bakrie Telecom and PT Mobile-8 Telecom to provide code-division-multiple-access (CDMA) services throughout the country as part of a shakeup in the allocation of mobile telecommunications frequencies.

Information and Communications Minister Sofyan A. Djalil said Tuesday that the two operators had been granted the new licenses in compensation for the government reducing their frequency bandwidths to provide more room for the new 3G operators.

With the new licenses, state-owned PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia's TelkomFlexi, which has already secured a national license to provide fixed wireless services using CDMA technology, will now have to go head-to-head with the publicly listed PT Bakrie Telecom and PT Mobile-8 Telecom.

CDMA technology offers users call rates that are similar to those charged for conventional fixed connections, which are currently controlled by PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia.

PT Bakrie Telecom is the telecommunications unit of the widely diversified business group, Bakrie & Brothers, while PT Mobile-8 Telecom is the mobile phone unit of Indonesia's biggest media company, PT Bimantara Citra.

Bakrie Telekom has to date only been operating on Java, Indonesia's most populous island, and had 1.3 million subscribers at the end of September.

Welcoming the government's decision, PT Mobile-8's corporate affairs director Zen Smith said that his company would now be able to expand its capacity to up to 30 million customers.

Mobile-8's marketing head Herman TKK said that the government's decision would not affect the quality of its services, including EVDO REV A services, which enable users to access the Internet at speeds of up to 3.1 megabytes per second.
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