Starlink gets the green light to operate in Indonesia

Starlink has received the government permits needed to operate as an ISP in Indonesia, connecting remote areas of the country through satellite Internet services.

Gigi Onag, Senior Editor, APAC

May 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Facade of Starlink building in Redmond, WA
(Source: Ian Dewar/Alamy Stock Photo)

SpaceX's Starlink has been issued the business licenses it needs to operate in Indonesia, allowing the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite service provider to deliver Internet services in remote areas of the archipelago.

Indonesia has become the third country in Southeast Asia – after Malaysia and the Philippines – where Starlink is available.

Communications minister Budi Arie Setiadi and another senior communications official, Usman Kansong, confirmed the news in separate reports by Reuters and Agence France Press (AFP) this week.

In early April, Starlink's local unit applied for the government permit to operate as an ISP in the country. It has already obtained the necessary very small aperture terminal (VSAT) permit to run the VSAT hub and station equipment that it has already built in the country.

With these two licenses granted, Kansong told AFP that Starlink now "has the right to operate in providing telecommunication services" in Indonesia.

The company is set to conduct a week-long trial of its services this month in Nusantara, the country's new capital city that will be opened in August.

Laying down the groundwork

Starlink has yet to set the date for the official launch of its Internet services in Indonesia.

However, it has already laid the groundwork by entering a partnership with local service providers to ensure that it meets its mandate to extend Internet coverage to remote areas not served by traditional networks.

Related:Starlink teams up with Indonesian ISPs to improve rural connectivity

Two weeks ago, Starlink signed a collaboration agreement with the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII) to improve Internet access in rural areas.

The partnership between the two parties involved the integration of Starlink's Internet services with existing infrastructure, which will allow local ISPs to expand their reach. Starlink, on the other hand, can use the terrestrial infrastructure to reach more people across Indonesia.

Starlink established a presence in Indonesia nearly two years ago through its local unit PT Starlink Services Indonesia, which has an ongoing partnership with Telkomsat. The company provides backhaul services in the operation of a closed fixed network of PT and Telkom Satelit Indonesia.

By providing backhaul services, Starlink supports the provision of 4G cellular services, especially in rural areas that are not yet connected directly with fiber optic cables.

According to Reuters, Starlink dominates the satellite Internet market by owning around 60% of the roughly 7,500 satellites orbiting Earth. 

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About the Author(s)

Gigi Onag

Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading

Gigi Onag is Senior Editor, APAC, Light Reading. She has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years, covering various aspects of enterprise IT across Asia Pacific.

She started with regional IT publications under CMP Asia (now Informa), including Asia Computer Weekly, Intelligent Enterprise Asia and Network Computing Asia and Teledotcom Asia. This was followed by stints with Computerworld Hong Kong and sister publications FutureIoT and FutureCIO. She had contributed articles to South China Morning Post, TechTarget and PC Market among others.

She interspersed her career as a technology editor with a brief sojourn into public relations before returning to journalism joining the editorial team of Mix Magazine, a MICE publication and its sister publication Business Traveller Asia Pacific.

Gigi is based in Hong Kong and is keen to delve deeper into the region’s wide wild world of telecoms.

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