Indonesia needs to adopt LTE: Ericsson

Indonesia will need to start adopting long-term evolution (LTE) technology, better known as 4G, as mobile data traffic is expected to grow by more than 10 times, says an Ericsson Indonesia executive.

“It is projected that mobile data traffic will surge by more than 10 times between 2013 and 2019, with smartphone users expecting better and faster Internet speed to support their activities,” Ericsson Indonesia marketing and communications vice president Hardyana Syintawati recently said.

Mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and the Pacific is predicted to reach more than 2 exabytes per month in 2019 from less than 0.2 exabyte per month last year, a recent study by Ericsson showed.

Voice traffic, meanwhile, is estimated to grow by only 20 percent during the same period of time, the study found.

The study, called the Ericsson Mobility Report, also predicted that Indonesia would have the third-highest number of new mobile subscriptions in the region in 2019, with as many as 7 million new mobile subscriptions.

India and China will come first and second with 28 million and 19 million new mobile subscriptions, respectively.

The study revealed that Indonesia had the most mobile subscriptions of any country in Southeast Asia, with 330 million subscriptions last year.

Hardyana said that with the surging number of mobile subscriptions, coupled with increasing mobile data traffic, 4G would be very much needed to provide a seamless flow of data and stable Internet connection.

“In addition, the demand for 4G is actually already there in a number of big cities where many people already use mobile devices that are equipped with LTE enablers,” she said.

She added that large telecommunication operators were actually ready to launch 4G technology, but were still waiting for a government regulation on the adoption of the technology.

“What is happening right now is that we haven’t had an official regulation on the adoption of 4G,” she said.

State-owned telecommunications firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) president director Arief Yahya said previously that his firm would launch the technology once the regulation was in place.

“Telkom is ready to implement 4G technology across Indonesia, supported by the DNA [Device-Network-Applications] ecosystem,” he said, adding that his firm planned to expand its fiber-optic network to 75,000 kilometers this year.

Meanwhile, in addition to Telkom, operators PT XL Axiata and PT Indosat have previously tested LTE technology during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in October last year in Bali.

Communications and Information Technology Ministry spokesperson Ismail Cawidu said that his ministry was working on the regulation on the adoption of 4G.

“We are moving in that direction, but we are still in the preparation phase so that all operators can operate the LTE technology at the frequency of 1,800 MHz,” he said.

4G connection offers theoretical download speeds of between 75 and 100 Mbps and typical download speeds from 3 to 12 Mbps, three times faster than 3G connection, which is widely used at the moment.

The Ericsson Mobility Study estimated that LTE technology would cover as much as 60 percent of Southeast Asia and the Pacific’s total population in 2019, a surge from only around 15 percent last year.

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