Another sign that the mobile phone market of Indonesia is saturated is that the number of (active) mobile phone numbers has only grown by 1 percent between the end of 2015 and the end of Q1-2016. Previously, we reported that the attractiveness of Indonesia's telecommunications market has been weakened due to sharp competition between operators, slowing profit margins and a saturating voice and SMS services market. However, there remains room for growth in data services and value-added services given Indonesia's still relatively low smartphone penetration (as well as low Internet penetration).
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Today's Headlines Mobile Phone Industry
Samsung Electronics Indonesia, subsidiary of the South Korea-based electronics giant, objects to new proposals currently being studied by the Indonesian government. Although in 2015 a regulation was signed by the government that requires local 4G smartphones manufacturers to use at least 30 percent of locally-sourced hardware content for domestically-sold smartphones (effective per January 2017), Indonesia's Industry Ministry recently proposed new rules regarding the mandatory locally-sourced content of both hardware and software for 4G smartphones.
Indosat, the second-largest telecommunication networks and services provider in Indonesia, is expected to gain momentum after experiencing several weak years. By modernizing its network and reducing foreign-denominated debt, the company, which recently renamed itself Indosat Ooredoo, is in a position to compete again against its main rivals Telekomunikasi Indonesia and XL Axiata. Indosat is for 65 percent controlled by the Qatar-based Ooredoo Group, a telecommunications provider.
Both Indonesia's Ministry of Industry and Trade propose to impose a luxury goods sales tax (PPnBM) of 20 percent on all imported mobile phones. Previously, the Ministry of Industry said the new tax rule - if approved - would only apply to cellular phones with a price tag of at least IDR 5 million (USD $442). Now, however, all imported cell phones will be affected. This new tax policy aims to curb imports of mobile phones (thus impacting positively on the trade balance) and to support the development of a domestic mobile phone industry.
Latest Columns Mobile Phone Industry
Starting from January 2017, 4G smartphone manufacturers in Indonesia will be required to use at least 30 percent of local content in domestically-sold smartphones and at least 40 percent for base transceiver stations (BTS). Earlier this year the Indonesian government had issued a draft regulation on this subject and last week it was signed by Indonesia’s Communications and Information Minister, the Trade Minister and the Industry Minister. What is the impact of this new rule on Indonesia’s smartphone industry?
The government of Indonesia targets to see 35 million domestically-produced mobile phones (per year) starting from 2017. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s wireless network is to be upgraded to 4G speeds by the same year (a 4G network is the new necessity for those with smartphones or tablets) although currently the country’s telecommunication operators are still in the middle of building receivers to boost 3G utilization. The government hopes to see a total of USD $4.5 billion investment in the telematics sector.
Despite sharp competition, slowing profit margins and a saturating voice and SMS services market, Indonesia’s telecommunications industry still has lucrative prospects as there is still room for growth in data services, value-added services and still relatively low smartphone penetration (as well as low Internet penetration). However, of the big three Indonesian telecommunication network and services providers - Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), XL Axiata and Indosat - only Telkom managed to post net profit over 2014.
The recently unveiled Indonesian regulation that forces the country’s 4G smartphone and tablet manufacturers to use at least 40 percent locally-produced components in their cell-phone devices is a source of concern for tech companies such as Apple and Samsung that are eager to expand into Indonesia where smartphone penetration is still low. Moreover, the restriction may encourage smartphone smuggling in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. The new regulation will come into effect on 1 January 2017.
Associated businesses Mobile Phone Industry