Thatha Rao, CTO, PT. Bakrie Telecom, Indonesia is speaking in the Network Optimisation track on Day One of the LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we speak to him about his the various challenges of deploying LTE in a developing country.
What have been the main developments and major milestones for you over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?
Currently we are preparing various 4G deployment options as the Indonesian government has not yet decided on the exact spectrum and license mechanism for LTE deployment. It is expected to announce this during 2014.
How much of a challenge do you feel monetising LTE will be?
It’s definitely going to be a big challenge, especially in Indonesia. This is a key developing country in the region but on the positive side it has lots of growth prospects over the next few years. The traditional model of deploying LTE for high spending customers and later extending the service to other segments may not work this time, simply because the revenues generated by this niche segment can’t justify what we need to spend for CAPEX and OPEX. However, if we choose the mass subscriber approach, price becomes the predominant factor compared to service quality and high speed.
Tell me about the fresh challenges that LTE brings with regard to backhaul?
I believe small cells will play an important and key role in the LTE access network in order to create better coverage and speeds. To reach these small cells with optical fibre though is definitely not an economical option and would also be very tedious, so we need a strategy that uses point-to multi-point radio backhaul technologies using short wave, which offers high bandwidth within short distances.
Where is LTE Advanced on your roadmap? Will you implementing it all at once or gradually introducing key features?
We preferred to take a gradual approach, based on demand and customer needs.
Why is attending the LTE Asia conference such an important date in your diary?
Frankly, I don’t want do make many mistakes in my LTE deployment, so learning from the struggles and success stories of other LTE operators is the prime reason for me to attend this conference.