Smartfren accelerates CDMA-to-LTE migration drive as govt deadline looms


Indonesian operator Smartfren has launched a promotion program to convince its CDMA customers to switch to its LTE-A service as it races to meet a government deadline to vacate the 1900-MHz band by the end of the year.

Smartfren is enticing CDMA customers with special migration promo packages with a variety of perks, including discounts, free Andromax smartphones (select models) and/or a free Mi-Fi device.

Smartfren customers can select their migration package online or via SMS, then redeem it via a number of online and offline channels.

Derrick Surya, VP of Brand and Communications at Smartfren, said in a statement that the operator’s LTE-A network will not only deliver a faster and more stable internet experience, but also better coverage, as Smartfren claims to have the largest 4G network in Indonesia.

According to TeleGeography, Smartfren budgeted $100 million in capex this year to support its 4G network rollout, and currently covers 200 cities and towns. However, the operator is also racing against the clock to clear off its 1900-MHz spectrum as part of a government-led drive:

TeleGeography notes that under the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s (MCIT’s) network migration programme, Smartfren will not be able to use the 1900-MHz band for its service from the start of 2017 and is looking to move to the 2300-MHz band where it is hopeful of securing 30 MHz of spectrum. MCIT minister Rudiantara has repeatedly warned the firm that he will not tolerate any delays in the migration programme, adding that by 1 January 2017 the 1900-MHz band ‘should be clean of code division multiple access services belonging to Smartfren’.

Smartfren has advised users that once the 1900-MHz network is shut down, devices that support that frequency band but not the 2300-MHz band – including certain iPhone and BlackBerry models, feature phones, dongles, etc – won’t work anymore. Also, some of Smartfren’s Andromax-branded devices will need a software update.

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