Executive Director, Indonesia ICT Institute: “Sharing is the best way to make LTE roll outs affordable.”

Heru Sutadi is Executive Director of Indonesia’s ICT Institute and is speaking on Day Two of the LTE Asia 2012 conference taking place on 18-19 September 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. We speak to him on where Indonesia is with LTE and what it will take to make the technology affordable to roll out in the region.

What have been the main developments and milestones for you over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?

In Indonesia we started with LTE trials in 2010 but there is still a great focus on 3G. In June 2012, Indonesia hosted the Indonesia LTE Forum, focusing on how best to share LTE issues, implement LTE networks and connect Indonesian users with LTE technology. This forum consisted of the regulator, operators, vendors, researchers from the universities and consumers. I am a founder for this forum, which is part of Indonesian ICT Institute (III) of which I am the Executive Director.

What business models would you say are best for monetising LTE?

The best is vendor financing for the equipment as operators have to spend a lot of money on the spectrum fees.

How important are small cells to network roll-out plans?

I think the first implementation is macro cell and then micro cell and maybe pico cells next. Pico cells are important as operators put this technology in to provide in-building coverage, (for offices, malls and hotels). Demand for data connections inside buildings is very high.

What impact do you think technology such as IMS and Joyn will have?

These technologies will impact Indonesia in terms of licensing. Because this is a new IP-based technology, we think that our licensing must be reformed and this means we will have to revise our Telecommunication Act (No. 36/1999).

Do you think that VoLTE will have an impact and if so, in what time frame?

The technology will have an impact on operators and consumers but I am not sure about time frame. Perhaps, it will take around one year from now.

There has been successful downward pressure on roaming charges within the EU – is this also a concern for you?

We talk about this issue not only in Indonesia but also in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. We hope we can follow the EU and decrease roaming charges in ASEAN countries.

Do you think that network sharing between operators is necessary to make LTE roll-outs affordable?

The trend in the future is not only network sharing but also frequency sharing. In Indonesia it’s okay to share networks but not the frequency. Sharing is the best way to make LTE roll outs affordable.

Net neutrality remains a contentious issue and has recently been enshrined in law in the Netherlands. What is your stance on this?

I agree with the principle of net neutrality. But in Indonesia, even though we have open, neutral technology we have to careful. Here everything regarding telcos must be clearly mentioned in law and be licensed, otherwise it’s illegal. For sure, we need to reform and revise the Telco Act so net neutrality can be adopted as part of our strategy to give Indonesian citizen better ICT services.

What are the main challenges you expect to face in the next 12 months?

We have some challenges with regard to spectrum allocation for LTE. We are still waiting a decision from the government as to which frequency we will be able to use for LTE. We want to use 700 MHZ or 2.6GHz but 700MHz is still being using by analogue TV and this will not be moved to digital until 2018. 2.6GHz is still being using for satellite TV. The other options are the 60MHz of space we have for TD LTE at 2.3GHz or refarming 1800MHz and maybe 900MHz. Moving forward we will need to discuss the standardisation, education and socialisation of consumers and the many regulations.

The LTE Asia 2012 conference is taking place on the 18-19 September 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Click here to register your interest.

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