Indonesia's PT Telkom this week reiterated plans to extend its overseas MVNO presence into the Middle East to capitalise on the number of ex-pats living in and travelling to the region.
The incumbent plans to strike mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreements with local telcos via its international subsidiary Telin, CEO Arief Yaha told the Jakarta Post.
Saudi Arabia will be a key market for Telkom, since there are 1 million Indonesians living there and a further 1 million that made the pilgrimage to Mecca last year alone, the paper said.
Last year Telin signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabian conglomerate the Al-Lama group, which has property, hotel, construction and telecoms businesses across the Middle East and Africa. However, an MVNO has yet to emerge from the deal.
Arief told the newspaper that Telkom's aim is to "follow the money, the people, the traffic and the network," to get into new markets. He said the company aims to earn trillions of rupiah from ex-pats (IDR1 trillion = €64 million).
The company has been talking about expansion to the Middle East for some time, but it has not divulged details of its plans to launch services there. However, it has made more progress in overseas markets closer to home.
It has launched MVNO services in Hong Kong and Malaysia, using Maxis' network in the latter. It offers mobile and international services in East Timor and has business services units in Singapore and Australia.
Last summer it got the go-ahead to manage international telecoms connectivity in Myanmar and has opened an office there.
It also has an office in Silicon Valley, through which it aims to collaborate with venture capitalists "to build an incubator for Indonesian talent", Arief said.