Abdul Muslim, Jakarta – Indonesia, while offering some of the lowest rates for 1 gigabyte of mobile data in Southeast Asia, grapples with relatively sluggish internet speeds compared to its regional peers.
Recent data from Cable, a UK-based website tracking global mobile data costs, reveals that Indonesia maintains an average price of $0.46 per 1 GB of mobile data. This figure positions Indonesia as the fourth most affordable Southeast Asian country in terms of mobile data costs, trailing behind Thailand ($0.38), Cambodia ($0.42), and Malaysia ($0.45).
However, Indonesia's internet speed ranks ninth among the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, according to Ookla's Speedtest Global Index.
The Indonesian telecommunications landscape is dominated by four major cellular providers: Telkomsel, a subsidiary of state-owned telecom company Telkom; Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison; XL Axiata; and Smartfren Telecom. Collectively, these companies operate 605,448 base transceiver stations, with 68 percent of them providing 4G services.
A survey by the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) underscores the nation's digital progress, revealing a total of 215.63 million internet users last year, accounting for 78 percent of the population.
IT expert Ridwan Effendi weighed in, attributing Indonesia's affordable cellular tariffs to the International Telecommunication Union's call for nations to make the internet accessible to all segments of their populations at rates aligned with their respective gross domestic product.
"However, overly inexpensive prices might pose long-term challenges, potentially affecting the sustainability of the business as well as the quality and coverage of services," Ridwan said in a recent interview.
The Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) expert also noted that internet "blank spots" are still a concern, particularly within Greater Jakarta.
"These coverage gaps often manifest in urban regions due to obstructions posed by high-rise structures or underground locations. Operators should address this predicament by deploying signal repeaters or indoor coverage solutions in collaboration with building owners," Ridwan said.