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The Indonesian Government to Forbid the Availability of 2G-Only Phone

Prayogo Ryza - 27 March 2015

The vast growth of communication network in Indonesia affects the growth of mobile devices. To push the penetration of 3G and 4G-based data network, the government plans on restricting the utilization of 2G-based mobile.

The regulation is basically intended to push the growth of 3G and 4G network. From then on, each and every mobile has to be compatible to 3G and 4G, aside from supporting 2G.

“Currently, 70 percent of cellular users are still on 2G, while 25 percent use 3G and the rest are on 4G. The percentage comes from the total number of operator customers. To push the smartphone growth, we are preparing a Ministerial Decree. We no longer allow 2G-based mobile devices if they don’t support 3G and 4G,” Ministry of Communication and Information’s Directorate General of Post Equipment Resources and Informatics Muhammad Budi Setiawan.

The regulation is expected to optimize the infrastructure built by operators, not to mention it’s role in upgrading the digital economy ecosystem in Indonesia.

In line with the government, Indosat’s President Director and CEO Alexander Rusli is in the process of migrating users from feature phone (2G-only) to smartphone.

“We are now focusing on convincing feature phone users to migrate to smartphone. If the devices are affordable, we will have many more data users,” Rusli said.

Even though the operators back up this planned regulation, it doesn’t mean that it goes unchallenged. According to the smartphone vendors, the Indonesian market has yet been ready to leave 2G behind. Thus, should the government insists on applying the regulation, 2G might completely dissapear.

“To really eradicate 2G (phones) is seemingly quite difficult,depends on the government and investors. The problem is, But if a restriction presents, or the network stops supporting, it might happen (disappearance of 2G),” Usun Pringgodigdo, Polytron’s General Manager of Mobile Division.

So far, Pringgodigdo said, the production of 2G only phones is still done in a large scale as 4G has yet been really ready. In the future, once the 4G infrastructure is ready and its supporting devices gets more affordable, then Indonesia may be ready to leave 2G.

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