Fri, 25 Aug 2006

Indonesia emerges as hive for CDMA2000 networks

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia has emerged as a new hotbed for CDMA2000 deployments due to the high number of operators, the variety of services offered and the market's positive response, the CDMA Development Group says.

The group, a trade association formed to foster the worldwide development, implementation and use of CDMA2000 technologies, estimates that CDMA2000 mobile telecommunications technology, which connects both urban areas and rural communities that have limited or no telecommunications and Internet access, had the competitive advantage required to gain a large share of the country's mobile phone market.

CDMA2000 is a family of third-generation (3G) mobile telecommunications standards that uses a multiple access scheme for digital radio to send voice, data and signaling data between mobile phones and cell sites. It is the second generation of CDMA digital cellular technology.

Speaking at the CDMA Connecting Indonesia seminar at the Jakarta Convention Center on Thursday, CDG chief operating officer James Person said that CDMA2000 was the most widely deployed 3G technology, with 164 operators serving 275 million subscribers around the globe, a number expected to reach 500 million by 2010.

"One of the reasons why CDMA growth is larger than other mobile telecommunications technology is because it is very easy for operators to upgrade in a CDMA system," Person said.

So far, there are five commercial CDMA2000 operators in Indonesia: Telekomunikasi Indonesia with TelkomFlexi as its product, Indosat with StarOne, Bakrie Telecom with Esia, Mobile-8 with Fren and Sampoerna Telekom Indonesia with Ceria.

Also speaking at the seminar was Indonesia Infocom Society vice president Benny S. Nasution, who said that even though the market for mobile telecommunication services was already saturated in Indonesia, there was still plenty of opportunities for CDMA-based technology in the country.

"CDMA is a technology that has reached maturity and ... has a characteristic where it can be easily and affordably deployed in rural areas," he said.

According to data from the society, only 36 percent of the 66,778 villages in Indonesia are connected to some form of telecommunications technology, meaning 64 percent of the country is still available as a potential market.

"Big operators (GSM) are not aiming at the rural areas because the costs will be too high. With CDMA technology, costs can be lowered so that it will be feasible to make a profit," Benny said.

Aware of the potential of the rural areas in Indonesia, Qualcomm Incorporated, the innovator behind CDMA and other advanced wireless technologies, has been working to introduce 3G technology into rural areas around the world, including Way Kanan in Lampung and Pacitan village in East Java.

"We are confident that greater access to wireless technology will enable better communication in rural communities and ultimately improve the lives of its residents, both economically and socially," Qualcom senior director Shawn A. Covell said at the seminar.