Hadi Hariyanto, senior researcher for Telkom, Indonesia is taking part in a panel discussion on integrating carrier Wi-Fi into telco networks on Day Two of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we find out more about the complex spectrum issues that are holding back the deployment of LTE in Indonesia.
A year ago you had completed LTE trials in Indonesia. How has your LTE network progressed since then?
We are monitoring the progress of the LTE ecosystem including device maturity, VoLTE, and new business opportunities. Since it is most likely that we will be using re-farmed spectrum, we have conducted an intensive study of heterogeneous networks. This technology will enable us to anticipate the possible challenges and opportunities of delivering seamless mobility between 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi networks. We also actively contribute to a European ICT Project, related to LTE small cells and mobile cloud computing, which is called Tropic. We believe mobile cloud computing will be a great source of new revenues on top of the LTE network.
Spectrum issues have held back LTE deployment in Indonesia. How close are these to being resolved?
Indonesia has started to adopt a technology neutral approach for its spectrum policies. Therefore, an operator with 2.3GHz TDD spectrum could start a TD-LTE rollout. Indosat has received technology neutral spectrum at 900MHz, however other operators have not. Regardless of the progress at 2.3GHz and 900MHz, I believe major cellular operators are waiting on technology neutral policy for 1800MHz and 2100MHz, which are FDD spectrum. Unfortunately the policy on those bands requires one important step; re-arrangement of the spectrum allocation so that each operator has contiguous spectrum allocations. There is an opportunity to have a new spectrum allocation at 700MHz, but it would not happen until Digital TV spectrum is deregulated, which won’t be completed until 2018. According to the General Director of SDPPI, the Indonesia Ministry of Information, the government will launch LTE in 2015 and could be accelerated by 20188, to be synchronized with ending of analogue TV currently occupying 700MHz.
Other than spectrum, what are the most significant challenges you are facing as you look to roll-out LTE?
Ecosystem maturity and maximising the mobile broadband ROI are two major challenges we have to consider as we roll out LTE. What we learned from the 3G roll outs in Indonesia is that ecosystem readiness is important for faster return of investment. We know that infrastructure for LTE is quite mature, but nevertheless we expect to see a greater variety of devices coming that will be ready to support Indonesia market, including M2M devices. Local content development is also important to monetise the investment in LTE and helping the nation to strengthen the digital economy in Indonesia. I know that each cellular operators in the country has put significant efforts to develop the ecosystem, but it will require sometime to mature.
Since Indonesia will adopt a refarming approach, it is our concern to maximise the existing investment of the 3G network and to choose the right time when to end-of-life the 2G network, especially at 1800 MHz and 900MHz. Coexistence between 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi networks are mandatory to maximise spectrum and ROI of infrastructure. As a consequence we need HetNets and a more intelligent core network implemented to make that happen. Telkom needs to learn from other operators about their success stories.
What is the most exciting aspect of LTE from a technical perspective?
Self-organising networks, small cells and heterogeneous network are coming together with the LTE ecosystem. This is not only lowering the total cost of ownership of the infrastructure, but also enabling operators to mitigate interference and to improve network discovery selection issues for heterogeneous network deployment.
What do you foresee as being the biggest change that LTE will bring to the region?
LTE can help operators to relax the congested network, hence improving end user experience. With current 3G/HSPA/HSPA+ and Wi-Fi network deployments, the mobile broadband market in Indonesia has been estimated to grow by about 60 per cent in 2015 (Frost & Sullivan, 2012). It will cause traffic explosion and congestion for most major cellular operators. Without technologies like LTE and/or a small cell deployment strategy the quality of experience for mobile broadband users will be lowered. Moreover, if Indonesia can maintain the high growth of the mobile broadband industry it will potentially increase the Indonesian PDB by 1.68 per cent by 2015.
What are you hoping to get out of the LTE Asia conference?
I expect to see the progress of LTE roll outs in Asia, the development of the ecosystem, new killer applications and possibly new creative business models to monetise the LTE roll-out, and I believe this event will match my expectations.