Telkomsel, Samsung make Android bet in Indonesia

Country's largest mobile operator inks a deal with Samsung to spur smartphone adoption in the country, and it hopes to acquire 4 million new Android users by 2013.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Telkomsel will be partnering leading mobile phone manufacturer Samsung Electronics to drive up smartphone adoption, and with it data usage, in Indonesia.

The Jakarta Post reported Wednesday Indonesia's largest mobile operator has partnered the South Korean company as part of its plan to develop its device, network and application strategy to boost data traffic on its 3G wireless network. Alistair Johnston, marketing director of Telkomsel, said this can be done by getting more Internet-enabled mobile devices with mobile applications connected to its network, it added.

"Samsung is able to provide 3G devices that can cater to all of Telkomsel's consumer segments," Johnston added in the report.

Telkomsel has more than 121 million subscribers currently, including 52.6 million data plan subscribers. It provides services to 18 million smartphone users, with as many as 2 million of those using Android-powered devices, the report noted.

Ricardo Indra, a Telkomsel spokesperson, told The Jakarta Post: "We seek to acquire 4 million new Android smartphone users who utilize a Samsung [device] on our networks by end of 2013."

In tandem with this development, Telkomsel said it expanded its number of 3G base transceiver station to 13,415 units as of September this year--up 49 percent from the same period last year.

BlackBerry under fire
A separate Tech In Asia report Tuesday noted as part of its partnership, Telkomsel and Samsung will launch a package deal--called "Chat & Share"--for popular third-party chat apps such as WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk and ChatOn. This deal would distinguish online messaging costs separate from regular data plans in Indonesia, and it is available only for Samsung Android devices, it noted.

The Chat & Share deal, which is similar to the BlackBerry Lifestyle package Telkomsel offers, will be priced at IDR 20,000 (US$2) per month. The BlackBerry package costs over two times more at IDR 45,000 (US$4.70) for the first month of usage and IDR 60,000 (US$6.20) subsequently, it pointed out.

This latest offering will not help Research In Motion (RIM) regain its leadership position in Indonesia, formerly a stronghold for the Canadian smartphone maker.

Research firm IDC in September reported that RIM has lost its dominance in Indonesia in terms of operating system market share, with Google's Android replacing it at the top with 52 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

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