Telcos get into annual Ramadhan rat race
Paper Edition | Page: 13
Competition is heating up among telecommunication operators in Indonesia, as each firm eyes higher profits and new customers by launching ambitious Ramadhan and Idul Fitri holiday packages. However, with an already saturated market, the competition might just become unhealthy, an expert said.
This year, celebrating Ramadhan and Idul Fitri, PT XL Axiata introduced a special offer called “Xensasi Ramadan” (Ramadhan Sensation). It offers affordable calls, with some free perks to its prepaid and postpaid customers. Customers will also be able to enjoy Islamic-themed mobile content and services aimed at Idul Fitri holiday travelers.
XL did not set up a specific target for new customers, but had prepared 4 million new cards under the Xensasi Ramadhan program, XL spokesman Henry Wijayanto said on Friday. “We hope the new customers will continue using our products after Idul Fitri,” he said.
Indonesia’s second-largest telecommunication operator, PT Indosat, recently launched the “Ramadhan Makin Penuh Berkah” (Ramadhan Full of Bliss) campaign, which boasts a variety of free services and Islamic-themed content. As part of the program, “Gratis 3 Hari 3 Malam ++”, enables Indosat’s prepaid customers to make phone calls, send text messages and use internet services for free for three consecutive days just by reloading their cards.
Indosat product development and management group head Sumantri Joko Yuwono said the company had upgraded its capacity to handle expected surges. “Now we can handle 924 million minutes of voice calls and 1.4 billion text messages per day following the upgrades,” he said.
PT Telekomunikasi Seluler (Telkomsel), Indonesia’s biggest operator, also has its special Ramadhan programs in store. Some of the services offered include mobile sermons, Islamic ringtones and free Internet during sahur (the pre-dawn meal in Ramadhan).
Telecommunication operators have to present their best promotions to win this tight competition, PT Indosurya Asset Management analyst Reza Priambada said.
In March, the Indonesian Cellular Telecommunication Association (ATSI) said the country’s telecommunication industry had reached a saturation point, with penetration of SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards standing at 250 million numbers in a country of about 240 million people.
The 2011 data of TeleGeography, a US-based telecommunications market research and consulting firm, shows that Telkomsel dominated the Indonesian telecommunications market with 43 percent, followed by Indosat and XL Axiata with 21 and 19 percent respectively.
Reza said most operators expected a 5 to 10 percent increase in terms of new customers during Ramadhan, but it would be difficult because these companies were basically offering the same products and targeting the same market. “They really have to struggle to win this tight competition,” he said. This trend, he added, would repeat in the next holiday seasons. (tas)
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