Esia enters E. Java CDMA market, TelkomFlexi offers special rates

Indra Harsaputra, The Jakarta Post, Surabaya

Cellular phone operator PT Bakrie Telecom, through its CDMA brand Esia, has expanded its services to the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang.

Supported by 102 base transceiver stations in the two cities, the company is upbeat about competing with other CDMA operators and more established players in the area, Bakrie vice president director Erik Meijer said.

At present, TelkomFlexi, a brand developed by the country's largest telecom firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), reigns supreme as the market leader in the province, boasting more than 1.7 million subscribers.

As part of its promotional efforts, Bakrie will offer free talk time until Nov. 30 for calls between subscribers within the same city.

Following its initial promotional period, the company will charge Rp 50 per minute for calls.

With plans to also expand its services to Semarang, Solo, Medan and Yogyakarta in the near future, Bakrie aims to eventually reach 3.2 million nationwide subscribers from its present total of around 2.5 million subscribers.

Throughout the year, the company is scheduled to earmark US$220 million in capital expenditure to strengthen and expand its network.

Responding to Bakrie's move, Telkom has introduced a promotional program, which allows its subscribers to enjoy a Rp 49 per minute tariff for calls between TelkomFlexi users.

"With the arrival of new competitors, we need to continue to be creative, not only to retain our existing customers, but also to entice new ones," Telkom consumer director Ermady Dahlan said.

In addition to its tariff policy, Telkom will also continue to expand its network by adding 34 base transceiver stations to the company's existing 275 stations in the province.
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