The government estimates that the widespread adoption of 4G technology in Indonesia could only take place by 2014 at the earliest, an official said.
“The ecosystem is not yet ready. The adoption of 4G is not easy and if we are not careful we may be blamed later. Maybe in two years, 4G [nationwide] will be possible,” Muhammad Budi Setia, director general for post and informatics resources and equipment at the ministry of communication and informatics, said on Tuesday.
He said one of the issues was the matter of frequencies and the government needed to first study the application of the 4G system in other countries.
“The government is still studying which band would be more appropriate to use here. We also have to see which frequency is most used globally because the use of a different frequency will lead to roaming costs,” he said.
He said that while in the United States 4G tended to mostly use the 700Mhz frequency, in Europe and Singapore it was the 2.5 Mhz. In Indonesia, the 700 Mhz frequency is used for analog television channels until they migrate to the digital system in 2018.
The 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz frequencies are currently used by 2G cellular services and wireless broadband, with only 60 Mhz left, while the 2.1 Mhz is used for 3G services and the 2.5 Ghz for pay satellite television.
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in 2010 said the 2.3 Ghz broadband wireless frequency would be set as the
infrastructure of 4G technology in the country.
Heru Sutadi, a former member of the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body, said the best option was to refarm the 1,800 Mhz frequency or use the 2.5 Ghz one for 4G.
Budi said that the government could not go alone in developing the ecosystem for 4G and needed the involvement of others such as operators, network vendors, academics and users.
“A lot of processes are needed so we should not rush things. I also suffer the slow data services but the people should understand the constraints we are still facing,” he said.
The fourth generation of cellular wireless standards, 4G touts download speeds of 100 megabytes per second, about six times faster than the 3G speed.
Aside from cellular networks, 4G can also be enjoyed through WiMax, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access. WiMax is basically an Internet connection
transmitted wirelessly from a
base station over a wide coverage area — faster than cable or its
successor, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), at up to 40 Mbit/s, and wider
than Wi-Fi — enabling people to connect their laptops or tablet PCs to
the Internet almost anytime and anywhere.
Internet and pay-TV provider PT First Media became, a Jakarta Globe affiliate, in 2010 became the first company in
the country to launch a WiMax network, through its Sitra WiMax
subsidiary, initially covering Greater Jakarta.
According to MarkPlus Insight, at the end of 2011, Internet users in
Indonesia grew more than 32 percent to 55 million users, accessing the World Wide Web through mobile 3G broadband services or fixed broadband.