Indonesia puts rescinded WiMAX licences back up for auction

The government of Indonesia has announced that it will reopen bids for licences to develop WiMAX infrastructure. The re-launch follows news that three of the eight original licensees have had their licences rescinded after failing to meet the terms of their contracts.

The companies in question are PT Rahajasa Media Internet, PT Internux and a business consortium of PT Comtronics Systems and PT Adiwarta Perdania. A spokesman from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Gatot Dewa Broto, confirmed that the licences had been revoked for financial reasons, with the three companies failing to pay permit fees and frequency charges.

Gatot commented: "The government was very tolerant in giving them an additional three months to pay, but the deadline came and they still could not pay.” A fourth company, PT Berca Hardayaperkasa, has yet to pay fines incurred for similarly missing the deadline for the payment of permit fees.

The four remaining companies - PT First Media, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia, PT Indosat Mega Media and PT Jasnita Telekomindo – have commenced work on the development of WiMAX zones.

The archipelago has been divided into 15 WiMAX ‘zones’; the new round of bidding will be for development projects in 7 of these: zone 4 (Banten and Greater Jakarta), zone 5 (West Java excluding Bekasi, Bogor and Depok), zone 6 (Central Java), zone 7 (East Java), zone 9 (Papua), zone 10 (Maluku and North Maluku) and zone 15 (Riau).

All regions of Indonesia have been allocated the 2.3GHz and 3.3GHz spectrum for wireless broadband access, with the 2.3Ghz spectrum specifically intended for WiMAX 16.d technology – a move intended to support the use of locally made components, according to Gatot.

Heru Sutadi, a member of the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Board (BRTI), confirmed that two Indonesian companies were certified to manufacture components for 16.d technology. However, despite the intention of supporting local industry, Heru noted that the four companies that have commenced work have voiced concerns over the quality of the locally-produced components: "The companies said the products were not up to standards, particularly with regard to subscriber capacity and coverage."

Nonetheless, the bidding will go ahead, although Gatot noted that no date had yet been set for the auctions. "The ministry is preparing for the bidding, but we have not decided on a date. Hopefully, it will take place by the end of this year or early next year.”

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