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Indonesian Communication Satellite Systems

Although government programs are aimed at improving the overall communications network, Indonesia's economic situation and archipelagic character make that a daunting task. Indonesia has been a pioneer in national satellite communications since 1975. A third generation of satellites, known as Palapa C1 and C2, was launched in 1996; these satellites provide a number of interisland and international telecommunications services.

By 1992 a total of 130 earth stations supported long-distance direct dialing among 147 cities, and permitted international direct dialing to 147 countries. A total of 266 automatic telephone exchanges and 480 manual exchanges had a capacity of 1 million telephone lines, which was 80 percent utilized in 1990. New regulations in the late 1980s permitted secondary communications services, such as fax and cellular phone operations, to be supplied by private businesses in cooperation with the government's Directorate General of Radio, Television, and Film.

Television and radio communications were dominated by the government networks, Radio of the Republic of Indonesia (RRI) and Television Network of the Republic of Indonesia (TVRI). The satellite communication system brought television signals to every village in the country. In the early 1990s, there were some 11 million television sets or an average of 56 per 1,000 people nationwide. Broadcasting was received from eighteen governmentowned stations in major cities throughout the country and foreign cable news broadcasts and television programming via satellite. Starting in 1988, a private commercial television channel, Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), was permitted to operate in the Jakarta area, where it offered ninety hours of pay programs per week. In 1991 a second private television station started in Surabaya and in 1992 the government permitted six more stations to operate, expanding service in Central Java, southern Sumatra, Batam, and northern Sulawesi.

Radio broadcast stations and radio sets were numerous in Indonesia in the early 1990s. There were some 530 medium-wave, around 140 short-wave, and 28 FM privately owned stations and some 22 million sets or 112 sets per 1,000 people. Government-owned RRI, from its central station in Jakarta, offered national, metropolitan, and FM stereo domestic programming and daily foreign programs--The Voice of Indonesia--in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Malay, Spanish, and Thai. These programs were broadcast from stations in Jakarta and Padangcermin in Lampung Province.

In 2002 there were some 7.8 million telephones and 11.7 million mobile cellular telephones in use, producing a ratio of some 91 units per 1,000 people. International telephone service was widely available. Radio and television were long dominated by government networks, but private stations have been on the rise since the early 1990s. As of 1998, there were 678 AM, 43 FM, and 82 shortwave radio stations and more than 31 million radios. In 2000 more than 31.7 million television receivers were in use. Estimates vary as to the number of Internet users in Indonesia-between nearly 4 million and 8 million. By 2002 there were more than 2.3 million personal computers, producing a ratio of 11.9 units per 1,000 people.

Since 2002, the country's telecommunications sector underwent major regulatory restructuring to liberalize the telecommunications sector. The monopoly of major operators in Indonesia - PT Telkom, PT Indosat, and PT Satelindo was terminated. PT Telkom's exclusive right in operating domestic and long-distance fixed lines were terminated. PT Indosat and PT Satelindo lost their exclusive rights to operate international services. At present Indonesia has around 9 million fixed-lines telephones, representing a teledensity of around four lines per 100 people. To stimulate the development of country's teledensity rate, PT Telkom, PT Indosat PT Bakerie, and PT Smart Telecom deployed CDMA fixed-wireless service.

The Indonesian cellular market is heating up and potentially lucrative as demand for mobile phones continues to increase. With around 124 million postpaid and prepaid subscribers (cellular and fixed-wireless) in early 2009, a penetration of 53% indicates there is still room for growth. The number of subscribers is forecasted to grow by around 30-35 million in 2008. CAPEX for nine operators (GSM and CDMA) is expected to reach $7 billion in 2009. The shape of the market is expected to undergo change as a number of new operators, with foreign partners, like Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel), SingaporeTechnologies Telemedia (STT), Telecom Malaysia, Maxis, and Hutchinson, Qatar telecom enter the market.

Indonesia's telecommunication infrastructure market has good potential for wireless equipment, services and content provider companies. The rapid expansion of the country's cellular and fixed-wireless networks has driven increased spending for telecom infrastructure. The entry of international firms as investors poses opportunities for American firms to parlay their relations with international firms into business to improve the equipment and infrastructure in Indonesia.


Organisasi Radio Amatir Indonesia (ORARI - Amateur Radio Organization of Indonesia) participates in the activities of satellite monitoring. A steady decline of ORARI membership has been going on for over the last decade. This is due to the widespread use of mobile phones, internet and other modes of communication. But the difficult economic condition of our country is the one that has the most profound effect on this process. It is very hard to find new and younger people, and get them interested in amateur radio in this age of digital communications. A lot of the "magic" of amateur radio has gone.

The Aeronautics and Space Institute of Indonesia (Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional = LAPAN) invited ORARI to participate in the LAPAN-TUBSAT satellite project, a video surveillance micro satellite for the purpose of conducting store and forward communication experiments within the frequency range of 435-438 MHz. This satellite is designed by Indonesian engineers under the advisory assistant of the Berlin Technische Univesitšt Berlin (TUB).

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