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Indonesia: Refarming Radio Frequency to Improve Internet Services

The Ministry of Communication and Informatics has finalised the rearrangement (refarming) of the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band. The refarming project focused on enhancing the community’s internet broadband customer experience.

Denny Setiawan, Director of Resources Management at the Ministry of Communication and Informatics’ Directorate General of Resources and Equipment of Post and Information Technology, believes that improving service quality is made feasible by optimising the usage of the radio frequency spectrum to increase the speed of mobile broadband internet access.

“Because the radio frequency spectrum can be used optimally, the cellular network capacity will also increase so that it can keep up with the growth in data traffic, which continues to proliferate, even at some points when network congestion occurs,” he explained at the Ministry of Communication and Information’s Central Jakarta Office.

He noted that the refarming of the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band involves three cellular mobile network operators who hold a Radio Frequency Band Permit (IPFR) for the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band.

The refarming process began on Thursday, December 1, 2022, in Indonesia’s easternmost cluster, which encompasses the provinces of Maluku, North Maluku, Papua, and West Papua. On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the refarming in Indonesia’s westernmost cluster was completed, which includes the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra.

There are 16 clusters designated for the 2.1 GHz radio frequency refarming. While the total number of sites that have been rearranged in the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band is 116,662, with specify for each operator being PT Indosat Tbk 35,647 sites, PT Telekomunikasi Selular 54,093 sites, and PT XL Axiata Tbk 26,922 sites.

The refarming was made to avoid operator interference in the 2.1 GHz radio frequency range. The refarming was carried out to maintain continuous communication between users in the 1975 – 1980 MHz radio frequency band, with 2165 – 2170 MHz allotted to PT Telekomunikasi Selular. Therefore, avoid interference with other telecommunications operators in the 2.1 GHz radio frequency spectrum.

Denny added that the refarming activities were carried out in the middle of the night, between 23.00 local time and 02.00 the following day, to reduce the possibility of service disruption to the users. The refarming went smoothly since the Ministry of Communication and Informatics staff and cellular operators worked well together.

During the refarming process, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics monitored and controlled the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band refarming through the UPT Radio Frequency Spectrum Monitoring Centre/Loka.

“One of them is by carrying out Frequency Clearance activities. This guarantees that the frequency-shifting operation follows the scenario and prevents interference. “The Frequency Clearance activity will occur from January 4, 2023, to January 10, 2023,” Director Denny Setiawan stated.

The Ministry of Communication and Informatics anticipates that establishing contiguous bands on the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band will give several advantages and benefits to public and private sector users of cellular services. Customers can benefit from the improved quality of both 4G and 5G services. Especially since the 2.1 GHz radio frequency spectrum is one of the high-capacity, wide-bandwidth bands.

The Director of Resources Management of the Ministry of Communication and Information’s Directorate General of SDPPI expects that the consecutive post-refarming condition of the 2.1 GHz radio frequency band would increase convenience and efficiency in the process of network infrastructure and upgrading of mobile broadband technology by operators.


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