Excelcom to Cut Some Mobile Call Rates

The countryís third largest mobile phone company, PT Excelcomindo Pratama, will offer price discounts in Jakarta and Bali to win subscribers.

Excelcom plans to charge rates as low as Rp60 a minute in the two cities starting this month, president director Hasnul Suhaimi said in a recent interview in Singapore, according to Bloomberg News.

Suhaimi, formerly head of PT Indosat, the countryís second largest mobile operator, joined Excelcom in September 2006 to help boost its 14% market share.

PT Sinar Mas Telecommunications began service on September 3 with Rp45-a-minute calls. Sinar Mas is the 10th service provider in the country.

Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd, which started operations in March, offers rates as low as Rp100 a minute.

Excelcom, controlled by Telekom Malaysia Bhd, expects to add 4.5 million customers this year for a total of 14 million, Suhaimi said.

Meanwhile, PT Bakrie Telecomís Esia brand hopes to attract more subscribers by selling cheap Chinese handsets in cooperation with China-based vendor Huawei.

Bakrie hopes to increase the number of its subscribers to 3.6 million by the end of the year from 2.25 million by June, vice president Erik Meijer said Monday (3/9/07), according to Antara.

Meijer said the handsets plus Rp50,000 ($5.30) worth of Esia talk-time, would be sold at Rp199,000 ($21) excluding tax. The handsets are sealed and could only be used on the Esia networks, he said.
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