Project Manager, Telkom R&D: “The issue is how to monetise mobile broadband”
Hadi Hariyanto is the Project Manager of Telkom R&D, the R&D arm of Telekom Indonesia. He is speaking on Day Two of the LTE Asia 2012 conference, taking place on the 18-19 September 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Ahead of the conference we catch up with him about the LTE deployment challenges facing Indonesia.
What have been the main developments and major milestones for you over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?
In 2011 we completed LTE trials at the Telkom R&D Center, in collaboration with Telkomsel Indonesia (as Telkom’s subsidiary company). The LTE system uses FDD with 5MHz channel bandwidth and operates at 2100MHz and 1800MHz spectrum.
What business models would you say are best for monetising LTE?
I consider LTE to be a pipe that provides mobile broadband connectivity through macrocells, metrocells, picocells, and femtocells and wireless routers for indoor wifi hotspots. Operators should not only rely on connectivity offerings but also various value-add applications and services on top of the network, such as Mobile Cloud Computing, M2M and application stores. This will make LTE smarter.
How important are small cells to your network roll-out plans?
Small cells solutions are an integral part of LTE deployments and are required to increase effective capacity within the target areas, and to provide better indoor solutions.
What impact will technology such as IMS and Joyn have for you?
IMS will enable seamless continuity between multimedia sessions. However, the existence of various service platforms and internet applications (SDP) means IMS will not be the only solution for delivering application-based services. Joyn will enable users to be able to enjoy RCS services based on IMS through, for example, RCS-e/Joyn client applications. Telkom is still studying how to implement and deliver RCS services to subscribers.
Do you think that VoLTE will have an impact and if so, in what time frame?
VoLTE will have a major impact after operator confidence in it is high enough to phase out circuit switched voice, which may be happened around five years from now.
There has been successful downward pressure on roaming charges within the EU – is this also an issue for you?
In Indonesia, pressure comes from competition; On-Net calls are almost free. National roaming is not an issue. International roaming costs are still very high compared to the prices for local/national calls.
Do you think that network sharing between operators is necessary to make LTE roll-outs affordable?
Yes, iIt is very important. Site acquisition contributes the major costs of cellular roll-outs. In Indonesia, a high number of operators means per-operator bandwidth allocation is limited. As a result operators should think about several options, including network sharing, which is relatively less expensive compare to merger or acquisition. Currently, network sharing is feasible using B2B schemes, while spectrum sharing is not clearly regulated.
Is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?
As far as I know, the innovation comes from devices, application stores and social media (OTT). Recently this has been making mobile broadband more attractive in Indonesia. However, I do not see significant innovation of services coming from the mobile network industry, including those in the LTE ecosystem.
What are the main challenges you expect to face in the next 12 months?
The issue is how to monetise the mobile broadband business. LTE is just another pipe. Unfortunately, connectivity is a flat tariff, and become cheaper and cheaper due to hyper- competition. Voice is continuously declining, it’s a must, but not necessarily contribute the major revenue generator. Operators should enter the device and application businesses, which are very fragmented and competitive. Another issue is how to make enough LTE spectrum available in Indonesia with channel bandwidth wide enough for each operator (at least 30 MHz). This problem is still unsolved by government. As a result, it is slowing down LTE deployment in Indonesia.