Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring reassured the Indonesian public on Wednesday that the government would not end the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service.
Tifatul made the comment after recent reports said that the government could potentially end the BBM service in response to the decision of the smartphone manufacturer, Research in Motion (RIM), to build a server in Singapore rather than in Indonesia.
“No, we don’t have that plan,” said Tifatul when asked about the possibility that the government could end the BBM service on all BlackBerry smartphones.
“The BlackBerry Messenger service is a must for the Indonesian public, because here [BlackBerry] has more than 5 million users,” he added.
Indonesia, which is one of the biggest markets for BlackBerry in the region, is viewed as crucial for RIM’s survival as the company has struggled to cope with competition from Apple and Android smartphones in the West.
Despite enjoying a huge and growing market in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, RIM decided not to invest in Indonesia and opted to build a factory in Malaysia and a router in Singapore instead.
The Indonesian government is viewed by many as “bullying” RIM following the company’s decisions.
The Indonesian Telecommunication Regulation Body (BRTI) stated in December last year that the government could end all BlackBerry network services and make “the smartphone just like other ordinary cellphone” as it described RIM as “not cooperative with the Indonesian government”.
Also in December, the National Police controversially named RIM Indonesia president director Andrew Cobham as a suspect in a BlackBerry promotional incident in which half-priced BlackBerry “Bellagio” smartphones were offered to customers at Pacific Place shopping mall. (sat)