With estimates that only about half of Indonesia’s 240m people use a mobile phone, there is great potential for growth. The three main players in the mobile segment have engaged in a price war since 2007 as voice costs have dropped precipitously, although forecasts expect them to grow on the strength of new subscribers. Future revenue growth will also rely on data and value-added services. These trends will be enhanced by the adoption of smartphones, which are out of reach cost-wise for most Indonesians at the moment, but an influx of cheaper Chinese phones should begin to bridge this gap. Meanwhile, low computer penetration is the primary issue facing the IT sector. Ownership grew from just 4% in 2006 to 8% in 2008, and the percent of the population with “access” to a computer is 20% at most. Providing access across the country will be especially challenging with Indonesia’s geography. Given physical and economic constraints, then, the government is placing its tech bet on the growth of mobile phones, to which far more people have access. E-government is also an emerging trend, and the state has adopted online systems for tasks such as procurement.
This chapter features interviews with Rinaldi Firmansyah, President Director, Telkom; and a roundtable with Erik Aas, President Director & CEO, Axis; Hary Sasongko, President Director, Indosat; Sarwoto Atmosutarno, President Director, Telkomsel; and Hasnul Suhaimi, President Director, XL.