Made Arya Kencana
Nusa Dua, Bali. Telekomunikasi Indonesia is set to spend $50 million in East Timor to help the country build its telecommunications infrastructure.
Telkom’s investment in East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 1999, is expected to help spur economic growth in the country.
Syarif Syarial Ahmad, president director of Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), the Telkom unit involved, said the investment would span 15 years.
Telin provides international carrier services and strategic investment in international telecommunication business.
Telkom is expanding its business abroad amid stiff competition in the domestic market.
“The investment will be focused on supporting economic productivity and education in Timor Leste,” Syarif said, referring to the country by its alternate name, on the sidelines of the Bali Annual Telkom International Conference in Nusa Dua.
Syarif said Telin would provide a global system for mobile communications (GSM) service and also a broadband service, which allows the transmission of data.
The company will provide network-based digital business and lifestyle solutions such as data services and Internet protocol transit.
Syarif said the company would need to build a non-satellite network, using a terrestrial microwave and optic network in Atambua, a town that sits at the border with Indonesia.
Syarif said Telin would seek help from Telkomsel, the mobile-phone unit of Telkom, to carry out the plan. “We will work with Telkomsel,” Syarif said.
Telkomsel is 65 percent controlled by Telkom and 35 percent by Singapore’s SingTel. Syarif said the services would enable East Timor to connect with global network infrastructure at a reasonable cost.
Telkom is aiming for 400,000 users in East Timor by 2017, about 43 percent of the market.
The frequencies obtained under the license are the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.1GHz band.
The majority government-owned Timor Telecom is the leading player in the nation’s telecommunications sector, which remains lightly developed.
Shares in Telkom closed up 2 percent at Rp 8,450 in Wednesday trading in Jakarta.