BlackBerry Growth in Indonesia

By Kevin Michaluk on 28 May 2009 09:44 am EDT

Yesterday's blog post on the official release of SmrtGuard jogged my memory on something I've been wanting to make mention of here on the blogs for a while... the explosive growth we're beginning to see of BlackBerry in Indonesia. If you listened to our WES 2009 Wrap Up Podcast, you'll remember one of the coolest things Bla1ze and I had a chance to attend at this year's WES was the signing ceremony between Indosat and SmrtGuard. After the business dealings were done, we had a great chat with the Indosat team members present and learned A LOT about the uptake of BlackBerry in the Indonesian market.

Compared to the total population of Indonesia, the total number of BlackBerry subscribers is still fairly small, though is growing at a big rate. Indosat made it pretty clear to us that BLACKBERRY is the smartphone brand that everybody wants (it's all about the always on, always connected lifestyle), but they need RIM to equip them with the tools to get at the HUGE middle piece of the market. Example - if there was a low-cost bare bones $100 BlackBerry (outright upfront purchase price) that customers could hook up with a low-cost / stripped down / BIS lite service, this would put the BlackBerry solution into the hands of millions. And we know what happens once you get a BlackBerry in your hands... you get addicted. From there more $$ would be spent by customers looking to add to the features of their plans.

There's a lot to get into here and discuss in a future article, but for now the video above does an awesome job of summing up the takeaways of that conversation, so be sure to watch.

[ Video via ]

Topics: Editorial

Reader comments

BlackBerry Growth in Indonesia


Blackberry is now considered a must-have gadget if you want to be recognized among your social life in Indonesia. Five-fold growth (yep, it's insane, indeed)in 2009 compared to 2008 simply proves Berry's triumph over other cell-phone brands. Even Nokia, which traditionally being market leader there, suffers sharp decline on its mid-to-high end models sales figure due to such extreme Berry-phoria.
But you should know that majority portion (around 70%) of stellar growth is contributed by unlocked and/or second hand devices. Reason behind this is price gap between official carrier offerings and those unlocked devices. For example, you'll be able to grab unlocked Storm for a mere US$ 510, but in other hand, you'll spend more than US$ 630 on carriers. This unlocked devices' domination is "accidentally" allowed by carriers, namely Telkomsel, Indosat, and XL, by providing PREPAID subscription scheme for BIS users. By this unique scheme (first in the world, indeed) you'll just pay US$ 14 to US$ 17 per month (there are even weekly and daily subscription period) for unlimited services, plus you may quit or cancel your subscription anytime you want.
The dark side of this phenomenon is ever-increasing users' complaints regarding various problems involving unlocked and/or second hand BB devices. Unaware users are often stuck with PIN-suspended or even dead Berry resulted by fraudulent sales and crooked vendors. Given poor consumer protection law in Indonesia, this problem seemingly getting bigger nowadays without any resolution comes handy.

Thanks to Kevin about the informing the growth of BlackBerry users in Indonesia, if you are in Indonesia then you will realized how crazy it is, a year ago, in Indonesia , there are only few people using Blackberry, I, myself one of the Blackberry users, when i bring my blackberry to phone shop they dont recognized what blackberry is, they told me blackberry dont have a market in Indonesia, noone wants to buy it. HELL I proof them wrong ! after a year almost everyone in the shopping mall is using Blackberry , its really crazy they gain 300,000 users in less than a year...NOW Every Handphone shop will either sells BlackBerry Accesories or the devices...and the BlackBerry Bold unit here the prize is crazy, first released is like 850USD now the cost drop to around 550USD, thats with contract....Phone in Indonesia are very expensive not like in US. Even tho the price is between 550-850 USD they sells like peanuts... its really crazy to see everywhere in cafe or malls people are busy with their blackberry...
Its Blackberry fever...

definitely true. I was at the id-blackberry (the indonesian blackberry community) gathering last sunday,and one of the Indonesian BlackBerry Alliance members was showing off a private preview of a project called Domikado by Ciptadana. I was just blown away! When this Indonesian blackberry developer markets their software, it will make Viigo look like an elf in Indonesia. Cant wait!

A few of the main reasons for the growth in Indonesia are that the phones are Unlocked and getting set up to a BIS is really cheap.

I have used Indosat in the past but I am on XL currently.

Several reasons that I changed networks are that XL does provide a better service.

As for a POST paid user, it costs be about USD$19. a month for unlimited data.

On Prepaid services, it is about $ 0. 50 a day.

Mind you that the connections on our networks are not as fast as they may be in Canada, US or even Singapore.

There are three networks selling BB Services and they are all below 50 Mbps combined .

With over 150,000 current BB users, 50 Mbps is not much but it is working.

Some of the current problems are that there are a lot of older Curve models that are being sold as re-furbished but I caution people here before you purchase one of these older models, try before you buy. Reason is that there are a lot of them that have cloned PINS and if you activate your BB Services, your phone will not be supported and you will be out of what ever you paid.

There have been several cases of this already where I live.

As arg0 mentioned above, one needs to be careful. It is always best to purchase your phone from a known reseller that is recommended by your Carrier but sometimes this will not help.

Back when SmrtGuard started their beta testing, I had joined and I did like the services they were offering. It will be interesting to see how Indosat sells this service to the public.

Personally, I would prefer subscribing directly with SmrtGuard and not thru a carrier in Indonesia.

There are huge opportunities in this country regarding Blackberry and the services that can be offered. If one is smart enough, one can take the country by storm.

this shows how important the asian market is. It's about time that the dudes in cb provide shipping of products to some of the asian nations here. seriously you can't turn a blind eye on us anymore.

As an Indonesian-American, I had recently visited Indonesia with much of a relieve to see a blackberry nation instead of a competitive Iphone world like it is here in the states. In fact I hardly saw any iphones. Blackberries of all models defines a new form of fashion, and class for all ages in a previously dominating Nokia world there.
Point is, Blackberries strategic globalization moves worldwide outlooks positively and in record timing.
If Iphones are the baseball or basketball of the world then Blackberries would soon become Soccer of the world.

Don't mean to be rude to you...but the explosion of use of Blackberry devices in Indonesia alone doesn't represent the scale of popularity of the platform in the world. (Read Friendster vs Facebook)

I own a Blackberry Bold myself and even though it's a wonderful device and a good communicator, the popular choice of phone is always gonna be the iPhone among everyone else.

And the fact that the Blackberries are popular in Indonesia is all about mindless kids just following the trend of "what my friends have, i must have also". They have no need for functions like push email, calendar functions etc. The only thing they use is BBM which in my mind can be replicated with any messaging app on any platform.

Again I wanna stress that I'm a Blackberry owner and that even though I'm glad that Blackberry devices are gaining popularity, it's NEVER gonna be the "soccer of the world".

And oh by the way no one cares if you're Indonesian American and it's football.

Singapore-Chinese-Australia dude with a Indonesian-Russian-Tibetan-Chinese-Thai girlfriend

hi i am from indonesia. the main problem for blackberry to get into indonesia market is the expensive price of the bb. 3 main phone provider (telkomsel, indosat and xl)have been selling the blackberry with the expensive price, eventhough they seel it with one year contract. I believe if the RIM can sell with low price, the RIM could be get alot of indonesia's customer. One thing for sure, the data plan for blackberry customer in indonesia is very reasonable. it is only cost you around $16-$18/mo with unlimitted data plan. so, I hope the RIM could make a very good decision for big market in indonesia. indonesian is a big spender.

Thanks to Kevin for raising this issue. It's actually quite astounding there. I was in Indonesia early this year and people were already holding onto their curve 8900 when everyone at was still drooling over the reviews. The berryhype is crazily massive there. I saw the most unthinkable people using BlackBerry. RIM definitely made a smart move. Apple? Not so unfortunately.

my friend just said that they already have magnum or pluto in some shops at jakarta, indonesia, and they sell it for over 1500$ and people are still bying it's crazy!!!

When the analysts were all crying foul over RIM's new handsets lowering it's profit margins and slashing their recommendations, I knew it's strategy change would pay off. With the new gemini and pearl, I am ecstatic about rim's potential in emerging markets.

This guy Chris Umiastowski obviously knows his stuff. One of the more insightful pieces I've read. Rather than simply passing on what he heard from the Company at Analyst Day, he went to the carrier and others to confirm and add detail that provides a more complete picture.

It seems more than coincidental that blackberry started it's explosion in indonesia around the time obama was in the news with his blackberry.

that, and in addition of facebook fever as well.

remember, this is mostly not because something that RIM did. in fact, RIM has zero presence in indonesia, in terms of representative office or hardware service support.

blackberry is replacing the previous king of status phone, E90.

to sum up, 50% use blackberry for social status, another 50% use it for the facebook app.

in all, RIM won the lottery in indonesia, of all places.

Cheap service (no more that US$21 after taxes) but the real factor to such viral growth has been the popularity of BBM. Most Indonesians don't know how to or care to use their Blackberry for anything else. I have friends that don't connect an email address to their Blackberry - some that don't know how to. Unlimited texting at no more than US$21? Who wouldn't like that (as a point of reference, my sister recently switched to BB because it was costing her about US$30 or more per month using sms)?

No one in Indonesia likes to be left out of the social loop so when a small group of friends start using BB, others follow if for nothing more than to keep up with the latest gossip, and it just grows from there - cause it's a lot cheaper than making a phone call or using sms (and you're limited to how much you can say). So the viral growth of Blackberry's in Indonesia is really due to BBM, without which most people wouldn't switch.

Networks are overloaded though but Indosat wouldn't be wrong in stating they are the most reliable service. Problem is that with such cheap service the providers take longer to update and expand existing service, if at all. Telkomsel and XL are patchy with the latter only working reasonably well in major city centers (although even then I've heard a lot of complaints from friends that ended up switching to other providers). Indosat is far from perfect as well with unannounced outages and a GPRS/EDGE/3G system that is getting slower. They are however, the only provider that actually posts OS updates (though it'd be nice if they actually told customers it was there - luckily I have crackberry to tell me). None of the providers have very good customer service with most of their CS people lacking knowledge and for some reason refusing to let you speak to tech support (you have to wait for a call back which often never happens - again luckily I can find many of the answers on crackberry).

RIM should've opened a representative in Indonesia years ago. It seems to me that US/Canadian phone vendors is a bit underestimating Indonesian market. iPhone 3G's launching 2 months ago in Jakarta proves it, I mean, come on... what took Apple so long to come to this country? Did you guys know that the first World launch of Nokia E90 was in Jakarta? Indonesia is a very promising market for this kinda stuff.

Traditionally Indonesia is the Land of Nokia as pnd_crackberry said even the world launch of Nokia E90 is Indonesia and at that time it sells like peanut even the price was USD 1000,

If nokia could make a messenger applications like BBM i think RIM could loose it's momentum in Indonesia...

SO RIM should make their presence in Indonesia as soon as Possible.. because the after sales and device support in here for Blackberry it's so horrible....

I do own the BOLD but I still keep and use my Nokia E90 in the same time... because it's more user friendly ( previously all my mobile phone is nokia ) and device support are there.. more peace of mind for me ( I only use my blackberry for BBM, Facebook and email) all my contact and calendar appointment and document is kept in my E90

My husband who use Iphone also has the curve 8900 for email and BBM... lot's of people I know who had Bberry ussually has second Mobile phone.

Therefore RIM should capitalize the momentum of bb growth in Indonesia.. by introducing device that affordable and providing support in here...

hope you undertand my english..

i could not agree more to what fierza2909 has written. In indonesian especially in jakarta, blackberry has became "a must have" phone followed by a 2nd phone. and people mostly only uses the Blackberry for their facebook and blackberry messenger. They don't do text anymore. once i even seen a family of five, all of them from the father, mother to the younger kids, all carries 1 blackberry, bold/javelin/curve.

Like some has also mentioned, that blackberry has became a social status items. without owning 1 blackberry is like u walking around without your wallet and cash.

Hey Fierza2909, you should try Nokia Messaging, it's push e-mail too. Yes, it's still trial, and it works to my Nokia E66. You wont't believe the cost I have to pay, it's only $5/month (if you are using XL prepaid, for GPRS usage). But you have to aware while you're browsing, do not exceed 50MB / month.

Comparing with my BB Bold + Telkomsel, I much prefer to utilize my Nokia, it's powerful with complete features. Perhaps, I'm gonna change my BB Bold with E90, E75 or E71 (Qwerty), once Nokia released their commercial version of this Nokia Messaging (I can't wait for this one).

But, n30nz might be right, this is Indonesia. They have a Smartphone for Voice, Text messaging and multimedia purposes only, what a pity huh. Yet, we are talking about "gengsi" (social status) here. What a people.

mhhH4RI yes nokia device actually its superior than blackberry in term of ease of use function and applications...( and stability!!!of os)
I love my E90 i used emoze for push mail application and change to blackberry connect... and the GPS functions a could utilize more using garmin XT mobile and maps from local community developer...

That's why I still keep my Nokia E90.. hopefully the Nokia Messanging could help NOKIA return in Indonesia...

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. And nobody.. I said nobody should enforce what they think what's right for others.

Let me put it this way, In my most humble opinion BB is an awesome device that generally used for business matter and comes later the so called "social" status. If u can have two why settle for less, right :)
BB is great for its always online always connected features but it suffers much from the hype of Indonesia's mass media although we could expect more from RIM in many coming years

Neverthless Nokia and specially its E series are by no mean a lame device. In some areas they are far more superior than RIM's toys. Certainly Nokia doesn't do great with push email and compressed data but they make it up by a more friendlier UI, well-known brand(Top Of Mind) and reliable OS(Symbian). In addition, let's not forget the selling price for used Nokia is still much higher than BB and to me it's one of the key factor of people having Nokia as their primary mobile.

I don't really think that there has been a real BB Killer.. at least not yet. Nokia or SonyEricsson or Samsung or HTC or even iPhone are somewhat in a different class from BB *IMO

There is still much to expect from RIM for its future here in Indonesia. All we can only hope is whatever the future holds let's not be so overwhelmed by the Berry fever Indonesia is having.

I for one is keeping my fingers crossed.. as always