BRTI Expects to Deploy Messaging Indonesia Before End of 2013
The push to deliver an Indonesian mobile messaging solution by the Indonesian Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (BRTI) continues amid collaborations by local telcos with foreign messaging companies. Temporarily dubbed Messaging Indonesia, the effort is expected to reduce consumer reliance on foreign services. BRTI is working with three major mobile carriers to develop this service.
IndoTelko reports that BRTI committee member Ridwan M. Effendi is adamant that the application will be ready before the end of the year although currently the team is still working to overcome both the commercial implementation as well as the interoperability issues that arise from cross-network deployment. “Anything’s possible. Even cross platform money transfer is possible, it’s merely about intent”, he said. “If Messaging Indonesia is realized, carriers will benefit because routing will occur locally so the cost expended will not be so great”.
With foreign apps and services, data connection travels outside of the country and carriers have to pay for the use of those data pipes. By keeping data traffic local, the associated cost can be reduced significantly. On the other hand, by running this service, all data will be subject to Indonesian laws and the government will be able to gain access to the channel if it sees a reason to perform such checks. This is one of the concerns that were brought up against the government’s insistence to have companies like BlackBerry and Google set up servers located within the country. The refusal of both companies to comply so far is supported by others in the industry citing legal, business and practical reasons.
Asked about the launch of the service, Effendi is optimistic, saying, “there’s progress from each routine meeting. It’s possible to launch it this year”.
Axis head of marketing Daniel Horan recently told DailySocial that an effort like this is rife with issues and that the company’s focus is on collaborating with existing services. While it may seem like a there’s a conflict of interest on Horan’s part, all other Indonesian telcos also have data package agreements with foreign messaging companies.
Axis currently has deals with Skype, Viber, KakaoTalk, Line, and others to allow subscribers to purchase messaging oriented data packages which will allow them unmetered data access to the services even after the monthly quota has been reached. The Viber partnership with Axis was signed at the Mobile World Conference earlier this year and is available to customers signed up to any of the Axis Pro data plans.
It remains to be seen whether a cross-carrier collaboration will deliver a service that is not only as comprehensive as existing messaging apps but also as easy to use and as attractive so as to gain widespread acceptance among mobile consumers across the country. Additionally, being an app may limit the adoption of such a service in a country with 70% feature phone mobile share unless all of the major features are also applicable for these devices as well.
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