Hutchison to start services soon

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian unit of Hong Kong-based telecommunications giant Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. announced Wednesday the successful completion of the company's 2G and 3G user trials.

The company said that the completion of the trials, with threshold levels defined for all key network and service parameters fully met, would pave the way for the company to launch its nationwide 2G and 3G services on March 31 as scheduled.

PT Hutchison CP Telecom (HCPT), which is controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison, began the trials in December to evaluate the quality of the network and customer service processes.

"This is certainly an important milestone for HCPT to launch its services in Indonesia," HCPT chief executive officer Rajiv Sawhney said in a statement.

Hutchison, and Malaysia's Maxis Communications Bhd., which owns a 51 percent stake in PT Natrindo Telepon Sellular, are the most recent foreign entrants to the Indonesian mobile phone market, where about one in four people own a mobile phone.

PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), the country's biggest cellular phone operator, and PT Indosat, the No. 2, have about 51 million users combined.

Hutchison earlier said that it would also spend up to US$1 billion this year on constructing a network in Sumatra, the country's second most populated island.

In 2006, the company spent about $1 billion on erecting masts in Java, the most populated island, to enable it to compete with the existing operators.

Natrindo, which has allocated between $1 billion and $1.3 billion on network expansion over the next three years, also plans to begin offering services this year.
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