Indonesia warns mobile licences could be revoked

Indonesia’s telecoms minister has warned that the licences of mobile operators could be revoked unless they merge or build networks to support internet services.

Rudiantara, minister of communications and information technology, said Indonesia should have a maximum of four mobile operators by the end of his term in 2019 – with smaller players either merging or exiting the industry.

"Each permit has requirements for the operator to invest and to build, so if they don’t build anything, I can revoke their permit," Rudiantara told Bloomberg. "I will suggest they consolidate to have the capability to invest and retain their permits."

The minister added that several mobile operators are not fulfilling agreements to develop their network infrastructure despite being fined. 

"So far we’ve handed them fines and penalties, but my job isn’t to accumulate funds for the government," said Rudiantara. "I only need to enforce the permits and I’m prepared to do that, but I’d rather take the business-friendly and practical approach and suggest they merge to keep operating."

Indonesia’s 10-player telecoms market is dominated by Telkomsel, Indosat and XL Axiata that together own an 80% market share.