Although 5G is a new technology and the spectrum is still being formulated to be used later, the Minister of Communication and Information (Menkominfo) Johnny G Plate is convinced that 5G is present in the new national capital of the Republic of Indonesia. In addition to being smart, the Minister of Communication and Information also mentioned that the new capital will also be going back and forth without unmanned vehicles, where the system utilizes digital technology. But the problem is, until now the Ministry of Communication and Information has not determined the spectrum that will be used to carry out the fifth generation of cellular network services. Johnny said that at present his party was ‘cleaning up’ the spectrum. As is known, currently all Indonesian cellular operators who have already tested 5G are Telkomsel, XL Axiata, Indosat Ooredoo, Smartfren, and Hutchison 3 Indonesia.
Minister of Communication and Information Johnny G. Plate said the 5G technology system will be first implemented in Indonesia’s new capital, East Kalimantan. According to him, this development was carried out to build a smarter capital city and equipped with super-sophisticated digital technology. The 5G technology is applied in East Kalimantan to support the sophistication of technology that will be developed such as unmanned vehicles. Currently technology companies such as Qualcomm, Huawei and ZTE are conducting trials or trials of 5G in Indonesia. Johnny hopes this 5G trial can be implemented first in a new capital city. Furthermore, he hopes that industrial clusters that will later implement 5G technology, are expected to have their ecosystems ready to support the new technology.
The government is targeting the latest 5G communication network to be adopted before the capital is moved to East Kalimantan in 2024. Johnny was answering reporters’ questions about the possibility of implementing 5G when Indonesia had a new capital. But, the government hopes that before commercial use, including in the new capital city, 5G can also be used in the manufacturing industry sector.
Cellular operators in Indonesia to date have conducted trials of 5G networks, both for the industrial sector and self-driving vehicles. The government in the context of preparing 5G is also working on regulations and frequencies that will be used by the technology, both from low band, middle band and high band. Meanwhile, in terms of technology, Minister Johnny stated that at present he has not decided what technology to use because there are many things to consider from 5G, including economic benefits.
Regarding the new capital, Johnny said 5G needs to be used to support digital government and digital business. The government is targeting the new capital to be completed by 2024. Previously, the Vietnamese government planned to implement 5G this year and even Vietnam has also prepared its own 5G mobile phones produced by JSC Vingroup. The VSmart plant will be built in the capital city of Hanoi and will be sold to the US and European mobile markets from April 2020. Previously, Vingroup launched VSmart in December 2018. The company is currently trying to win market share of their products from popular smart phone brands such as Samsung and Apple in Vietnam. The country has a population of 95 million people. The company began selling VSmart in Spain in March and plans to expand to other markets in Europe.
The availability of telecommunications infrastructure is a challenge for cellular operators in Penajam Paser Utara and Kutai Kartanegara. However, Telkomsel has ambitions to bring the 5G network in the area which will become the capital of the Republic of Indonesia. Rahma Putra Jaya, GM of the Kalimantan Regional Operations Management Quality Management Rahmad Putra Jaya, said there was a stark contrast between North Pener Pasajam and Kutai Kartanegara and Jakarta when it came to technology. As a telecommunications service provider, Telkomsel sees its own challenges in building networks in the successor regions of prospective capital cities of the Republic of Indonesia which still lack network availability. But seen from the other side it is considered to facilitate them in providing their services. To get there, Telkomsel utilizes optical fiber owned by Telkom’s parent companies in Balikpapan and Samarinda.
A number of Indonesian cellular operators have conducted 5G trials, but it seems that Indonesia will not be enjoying the fifth network technology in the near future. There are so many challenges that must be faced to implement the 4G successor. Qualcomm Indonesia Country Director Shannedy Ong said, the discussion about 5G is not limited to mobile devices but all supporting ecosystems. Right now cell phones that support 5G connections have been made by many OEMs, but the network is not yet available. The problem, related to this, the regulator has not prepared allocations so far. The government is still waiting for frequency standardization at the World Radio Communication (WRC) conference at the end of October. So far there are three ideal frequency band candidates to use for 5G, namely 3.5 GHz, 26 GHz and 28 GHz. In Indonesia, not all “clean” and can be directly used, such as 3.5 GHz which is still inhabited by satellites for television, banking, and telecommunications.
This also makes Indonesia must be left behind in the application of 5G from neighboring countries. Information from Qualcomm is that Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia are planning commercial 5G networks in 2019 and 2020. Indonesian resident Joko Widodo at the State Palace on Monday (8/26/2019) had announced that Indonesia’s new capital city would be in some of the Penajam Pasir Utara Regencies, and partly in the Kutai Kartanegara Regency, East Kalimantan. Responding to this, Telkomsel considered that the telecommunications service area could show the great potential of Kalimantan. Met after the launch of the 2019 Stand-Up Battle Indonesia in South Jakarta, Monday (8/26/2019), Vice President of Telkomsel Corporate Communications Denny Abidin said that there were at least three great potentials in Kalimantan, which could have a big impact on the Indonesian telecommunications industry in Indonesia.
First, he said that Borneo Island is inhabited by large companies operating in the oil and gas sector. The size of the island is large, so economically, they need to be supported by equitable telecommunications facilities and services. Second, continued Abe, tourism potential in Kalimantan can be developed with the support of a capable telecommunications infrastructure. He considered, tourist spots in the new capital city of Indonesia can be quickly known to the world with the help of fast internet. Third, the latest technology touches, especially in the telecommunications sector, can reach border areas. This means that the distribution of internet networks in Kalimantan can be accelerated. Regarding Telkomsel’s network services on the NKRI border, Abe said that the 5G network was almost held on the Kalimantan-Malaysia border. Telkomsel itself asserts that they will be in line with government programs by building infrastructure, including telecommunications networks in the new capital city of Indonesia.