Telcos in Indonesia – Accelerating Enterprise Digitalisation and IoT Adoption

The rise of IoT is deemed as a major driver of enterprise digitalisation – McKinsey estimates that IoT’s potential economic impact of factories will rise to as much as $3.7 trillion a year by 2025, mainly from productivity improvements. With the rise of IoT adoption and the potential benefits it could bring, telcos find themselves in a very unique position. Telcos play an important role as enablers and drivers of digitalisation for other sectors, by providing the essential connectivity infrastructure. However, solely relying on providing connectivity infrastructure as their main business won’t be sustainable, especially with the entrance of new competitors that provide unlicensed spectrum-based connection technologies and solutions like Sigfox and LoRa. While telcos are still unsure of the best approach to IoT, many have started exploring business models which they think suit them best. Some of them pursue horizontal approach, focusing on IaaS or PaaS while others involve themselves deeply in the vertical industry, focusing more on SaaS.

Singtel, Telstra and du are good examples of progressive telcos in IoT space. Singtel and Telstra have rolled out nationwide commercial NB-IoT network in Singapore and Australia respectively while du will be rolling out 5G network this year in the UAE as an effort to drive digitalisation and IoT adoption in their respective market. Gerhard Loots, Head of IoT & M2M at Telstra, explained that IoT network such as NB-IoT is essential as it brings increased penetration, increased coverage, and increased battery life and these would enable various new technology and application to be rolled out in various verticals including smart city. Singtel and du are especially active in developing IoT solutions for smart city vertical as an effort to support the development of smart nation in both Singapore and UAE. Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel, mentioned that IoT will play a key role in realising Singapore’s smart nation vision. One project that is being explored by Singtel is IoT-driven smart meters, a collaboration project with EDMI. Similarly, du is playing a crucial role in the development of Dubai’s smart city vision by providing the whole architecture and platform to build, design, and operate it end-to-end on behalf of the Smart Dubai Office, as explained by Jihad Tayara, VP of Business Development and Partnership at du.

Telcos in Indonesia

According to a report commissioned by the Indonesian Commission for the Supervision of Business (KPPU), Indonesia will be the leading digital economy in the Southeast Asian region with a market valuation of $130 billion. Many enterprises in Indonesia have been exploring and/or implementing IoT solutions and the enterprise survey conducted by Asia IoT Business Platform last year has shown that 83% of the local enterprises across verticals are currently at this exploration and/or implementation stage. The government of Indonesia, through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, is pushing IoT adoption in the country too to increase her competitiveness and is currently developing an IoT-Roadmap – the draft of the roadmap will be presented in August at Asia IoT Business Platform Indonesia. A number of local industry leaders have developed a digital transformation blueprint for their organisations and you can read up more on some of the case studies and our insights on Indonesia through these links: Logistics 4.0Digital Bankinge-Government.

Telcos in Indonesia have realised the potential of IoT and enterprise digitalisation for their business and major telcos such as Telkom, Indosat Ooredoo, Telkomsel and XL Axiata have been exploring this space aggressively – they are very eager in looking for partners to complement their enterprise solutions offering. During our press briefing in Jakarta last month, our telco partners all agreed that the role and business model of telcos have shifted to the changing market. Telcos are now playing a pivotal role as the hub of IoT, the integrator of IoT ecosystem. Looking beyond connectivity, telcos are now ready to work closely with their enterprise partners to provide solutions as well such as platform, security solutions, and other applications – this has become a new normal.

Throughout the years, we have had the privilege to work closely with these telcos and we have witnessed the introduction of their flagship products and initiatives. Telkomsel IoT team is focusing almost exclusively on transport and aftermarket automotive solutions, including fleet management, Fleet Sight and intelligent driving assistant, T-Drive, a flagship product of Telkomsel, was launched at our industry gathering in 2015.

Similarly, Indosat is vying this vertical as well and they have launched NEXTfleet, an integrated smart fleet management solution, at our gathering last year. Bu Herfini Haryono, Chief Business Officer at Indosat, shared that this solution is designed specifically for companies that use vehicle fleet units, to increase productivity and minimise operating cost. Aside form transport and logistics, industrial and smart city are the verticals Indosat would like to focus as well for their IoT offerings.


Bapak Arief Mustain, Head of Digital Service at Telkom, has also declared the importance of IoT, “Telkom will be leading the digital business and accelerating enterprise digitalisation in Indonesia through IoT.” Telkom has been exploring partnerships with various parties to develop their IoT capabilities further such as SK Telecom, Sigfox, and Fujitsu, to name some of them. An incubator called Digital Amoeba was set up last year to spur innovation within the company and drive the creation of new solutions. Telkom believes that these efforts are necessary to support the Indonesian government agenda of “Making Indonesia 4.0”.

The idea of IoT as a crucial pillar for Indonesia 4.0 is echoed by Kirill Mankovski, Chief Enterprise Officer at XL Axiata too. He believes that IoT will have exponential growth in the near future as many enterprises across verticals has started to connect everything to the internet. XL Axiata is currently strengthening their IoT platform and system to develop solutions for their focus verticals including transportation and logistics, agriculture, healthcare, and smart cities.     

It is evident that the telcos in Indonesia will be playing a key role in driving digitalisation and IoT adoption in Indonesia, paving the country to be the largest digital economy in the region. Key stakeholders from Indonesia telecommunication sector will be providing further insights of their digital transformation strategy and initiatives at the 25th edition of Asia IoT Business Platform in Jakarta this August 28-29th, this will include:

  • Semuel Abrijani, Director General of ICT Applications, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
  • Ismail, Director General of Post and Informatics Resources and Devices, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
  • Arief Mustain, Head of Digital Service, Telkom
  • Herfini Haryono, Chief Business Officer, Indosat Ooredoo
  • Kirill Mankovski, Chief Enterpise Officer, XL Axiata
  • Gerhard Loots, Head of IoT & M2M, Telstra
  • Jihad Tayara, VP Business Development and Partnership, du
  • Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT, Singtel

Drop me a note at [email protected] if you are interested to be part of this enterprise digital transformation and IoT conversation in Indonesia.

Felix Fernando

1 August 2018

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