Indonesia’s Indosat Ooredoo is planning to invest IDR2 trillion ($140 million) in order to increase its network of 4G base stations almost twofold.
The operator, which is Indonesia’s third largest, will set up 18,000 new LTE base stations to bring its total to 40,000. It intends to fund this capex hike by selling off around 3000 towers for as much as $300 million, and by the end of the year is aiming to expand its coverage from 81% of the archipelago’s population to 90%.
The Jakarta Post quoted CEO Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Neam, appointed to his post on 1st August, as saying that Indosat Ooredoo would strengthen its 4G network before readying itself for 5G. Currently, Indonesia’s 5G auctions are scheduled for 2022, and the government has indicated that these will predominantly cover the 3.5GHz band.
Al-Neama’s predecessor Chris Kanter had held the post since October last year. Since his appointment, Kanter pushed to boost the operator’s 4G coverage beyond the island of Java by expanding its capex budget for the next two years to IDR30 trillion.
A government-legislated SIM registration initiative proved punishing for Indosat Ooredoo – after the program was implemented in May 2018, the operator saw its subscriber base nearly halve from 110 million at the end of 2017 to 51.1 million in Q2 2019, according to data from the GSMA.