Tue, 30 Aug 1994

Satelindo to sell 30,000 GSM telephone lines

JAKARTA (JP): PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia (Satelindo), a satellite and cellular telephone operator, plans to market 30,000 cellular telecommunications lines using the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) by the end of this year.

"There are already 7,500 people asking for GSM telephone lines even though official marketing will not start until Thursday, Sept. 1," Satelindo's president, Iwa Sewaka, told reporters here yesterday.

Satelindo is 30 percent owned by the state-owned domestic telecommunications company, PT Telkom, 10 percent by the state- owned international telecommunications company, PT Indosat, and 60 percent by PT Bima Graha, a subsidiary of the Bimantara Group, a diversified group of businesses owned by President Soeharto's son Bambang Trihatmodjo.

Iwa said that his company will offer integrated GSM service, comprising a handset and subscriber identity module (SIM) card at between Rp 3.95 million and Rp 6 million (US$1,816-$2,758), depending on the type and brand of the handset.

"Satelindo will offer six brands -- Nokia, Ericsson, Phillips, Alcatel, Motorola and Siemens," he said, adding that the price includes import duty, value added tax and luxury tax.


He said that the marketing will be very selective. His company plans to market 100,000 lines in 1995, while avoiding brokerage.

"People need to enclose specific proof of identity when submitting application forms to our office," he said.

The commercial opening will be in early November, with full public switching telephone network (PSTN) interconnections.

Iwa also said that Satelindo has made a total investment of Rp 67 billion in the GSM project in Jakarta, with the main cores including operation system support (OSS), network sub-system (NSS) and base station sub-system (BSS).

Satelindo's director for cellular service, Saleh Gunawan, said the company will evaluate and develop additional BSS in certain areas if there are a lot of subscribers.

Each BSS can accommodate 500 subscribers and bear 30 traffic flows at one time.

GSM, which is derived from Europe, is one of the three leaders in digital cellular mobile telephone systems. The other two are American Digital Cellular (ADC) of the United States and Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) of Japan.

The state-owned domestic telecommunications company, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), is running a GMS pilot project on Batam and Bintan islands in Riau.

Indonesia also has signed an agreement with the Dublin, Ireland-based GSM service for international roaming.

Palapa users

Iwa also said yesterday that Satelindo has signed contract agreements with 16 companies for the leasing of the transponders of the Hughes-built Palapa-C1 satellite, which will be launched in October next year.

Satelindo is the owner of Indonesia's Palapa-C series satellites, which will replace the Palapa-B series. The company has assigned Arianespace to launch its Palapa-C1 satellite.

"The contractors include television broadcasters from Hong Kong, New Zealand and France," he said. "Viacom of the United States just signed a leasing contract today."

He said the leasing cost is $1.8 million per annum.

There are currently 42 users of Palapa-B series from 13 countries, including the United States, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and France.

Satelindo's director of satellite affairs, Sahala Silalahi, said that Palapa-C1, which will replace Palapa-B2P in the 113 east degree orbit, will expire in 2003.

He said that Indonesia has completed coordination on satellite frequencies with Russia, Malaysia, China and Britain and will hold talks with the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Japan for a similar purpose.

Sahala also said that the launching of the Palapa-C2 satellite is scheduled in 1996 to replace Palapa B2R in the 108 east degree slot.

Iwa acknowledged that many countries in Asia and the Pacific will operate their own telecommunications satellites in the coming years.

But Satelindo is unlikely to face difficulties in offering the lease of its satellite transponders because demand for transponders will increase steadily in line with the increase in the number of television broadcasters in the region. (icn)