CNN on the BlackBerry Boom in Indonesia

By Kevin Michaluk on 29 Dec 2009 03:10 pm EST

Back in May, following up on WES 2009 where I had the chance to meet some representatives of Indosat, I ran a post on the blogs in regards to the explosive growth of BlackBerry use in Indonesia. Just yesterday, CNN posted the above video which gives a first-hand look at the crushing dominance of BlackBerry in the region. Check it out! 

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CNN on the BlackBerry Boom in Indonesia


In most emerging markets where internet access is not readily available everywhere, the BlackBerry solution fills that niche very well in several ways;

1)phone calls
3)txt,mms via BBM, 3rd party chat messenger & emails
5)Cost i.e with a BB data plan you can do all of the above & more without having to subscribe to additional data package because in majority of emerging market subscribers are pre-paid customers

blackberry is not successful due to the bad internet, it's a potent mix of vanity, trend, and the sheer number of the existing user base. replacing the previous must-be-seen-with-one trophy phone, nokia E90 series (it was launched first in indonesia before any other country, it was that successful).

8300 series selling at 300 usd is still 3 month minimum wage for most people and the monthly fee is at least 10% of minimum monthly wage. blackberry is far from being a mass market device in indonesia. but, the middle-up market is a different story altogether. probably more than half of all smartphones sold in indonesia is a blackberry. in total about a million strong blackberry users, but still less than 1% of the population.

the other 99% of the market is probably cornered by sub $100 barebone phones.

$15 per month for the unlimited BIS plan, they even have per day and per week prepaid BIS plan!!! and now they going to launch BIS Lite, less than $1 per day for all BIS services except web browsing!

It's true, everywhere I go 80% of the people I know in Jakarta is using blackberry, it becomes a "must-have" device for them, I even know there are quite big junior high school kids is using blackberry. I guess its because RIM doesn't have exclusivity with 1 network only thus every network is waging a bb service war, and the service is super cheap, dailu unlimited use for 50 cents and monthly around $15, u can't get that anywhere else.

BB in Indonesian market growth occurs naturally, and the market was probably not RIM's priority. The initiative to provide service centers, came from Indonesian government and not from RIM. Pity for that.

Nokia hurts the most here, especially for their high-end products. Although Nokia introduced ovi email, free chat, etc., it is not yet supported by operator's cheap data plan like blackberry did. So Nokia will lose its overall leadership here if they don't collaborate with local operators to provide cheap data plan, although now that they provide services like BB.

This is also a gentle reminder for international developers to localize their applications to Indonesian market needs at local price (yes 5 dollar application is still considered expensive here) and for local developers to create a more local-content applications.


thats proved Indonesia is one of the biggest growing emerging Market...

I think, next time RIM should consider Indonesia to launch their upcoming new product...,


cheers.... n happy holiday

In general people living in big cities here in indonesia are considered as impulsive buyers, whatever new here is good; Love to go with so called 'trends' and it's the reason why so common to see young students of say grade 3 and above using blackberry devices including the high end ones.

Social networking phenomenon drives this a lot, it's not unusual to find blackberry users who doesn't even know how to use emails, stay with blackberry for only Instant messaging (BBM, YM) and facebook apps.

But hey, RIM is happy about this and so are telco operators, and we as users are also happy!

Go blackberry!

I'm working for a multinational mobile phone company in Indonesia, and almost all of the mobile phone team members use BlackBerry. It's crazy and ironic. Although the sales of BB is not as skyrocketing as it used to, the trend of using BBM, push email and social networking is becoming a MUST for your social status.

They're even developing custom applications for the Indonesian market, from promotion-notifying application to taxi dialing service. It's true when the girl says in the video, cause many of my friends use BlackBerry, the usage of BB is somewhat more convenient to reach them, esp. when it costs relatively cheap compared to SMS and GPRS data rate.

I was skeptical of BB the first time, and decided to get a Curve 8520 which is designed for amateur users. The device keeps growing on me and I can't stop thumbing (a common term for Indonesian BB users).

i live here and i cant deny all those mentioned in the news. lol.

i am just lil bit sad i wasnt there when they took that shot! hey i went there quite often, when did they take thaat?! :D

Indonesia always known as a "mad" phone market. When I went there summer last year and this year, there were lots of people using BlackBerry over there, even students! And that is not only high school, but also elementary! Think it's also because the attitudes over there are impulse and consumptive.

Yeah it's true! it's true! Blackkkkkkberryyy is booming in indonesia more than other country in the world. Almost 90 percent people using blackberry in Jakarta.

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in the end, the indonesian market is still a bastard child that RIM never intended to conceive. uhh... that came out a bit strange. supported by the fact that there is not a single RIM representative office in indonesia. and close to non-existant official after sales support. service is provided only to the provider branded devices, which is at most 15-20% of the devices in the market.

simply put, RIM won a goddamned lottery here.

Well, social networking is the on-going trend in Indonesia...and surely, Blackberry makes the world even smaller..

I have used BB 1 year ago instead of Nokia. Yeah BB was more powerfull than Nokia. The device was good in reliability,everyday use,best browser even for long duration,the sound is the best.
But there is 1 one minus,quality for network system still not stabil for steaming purpose.
Good job.

RIM should launch new product in here will be big boom Nokia launch E90 cimmunicator first in here... 90% of my friend change his/her device with BB...crazy huh>????the rest is soon.... thing again...hey kevin since indonesia is the most growth market for BB...i think you should serve in indonesian ppl in here can shop in lol...

Blackberry national boom started since early this year, where has CNN been? Oh my... Yet when it comes to news that affects lesser people than blackberry does, CNN is quick to catch on to thwart Indonesian tourism. I smell conspiracy.

The starting block is the BBM feature is that keeps it going. Once it hits certain number of users, then the critical mass effect takes over. BBM empowers one to gossip anytime anywhere.

That gossip and narcissm spills to facebook. Blackberry enable one to be online almost 24 hours. Somehow when one is connected via blackberry plan, the connection is that much more stable than plain GPRS/3.5G. Thus people can update their facebook status more often than necessary.

The complement is that Blackberry compresses data sent over the network, thus the laggy nature of mobile operators doesn't affect Blackberry users that much.

So, the early adopters, of course, are due to vanity. The rest are educated buyers that is affected by the critical mass.

It'd be hard for anyone to displace Blackberry in Indonesia since they'll have to introduce somesort of BBM alike, but that won't promise the maker a healthy rebound.

Previously, people tend to change phones due to design. Nowadays, they'll simply upgrade to the latest blackberry devices.

I'm curious what's the percentage of blackberry users break down per countries. I'm quite confident that Indonesia will be in top 5.

Despite that, RIM is slow to set up a service center here? Weird.

That's great for blackberry...CASH and riches...Hey, maybe they can bring the price down a bit because the phone costs way---toooo much in my opinion, for the record I have a blk-8900 Rim.
Try to drop it by accident (on thick carpet, with a monaco book-case) my phone hasn't act right sense!!
I will say I do love my phone but sometimes I think about whether to buy another brand but have invested in apps and games, so I am stuck for the moment.
Also, maybe they will stop being stingy on the cases that come with the blkberry rim, when you first get it. It's terrible, I had a copper "shadow" phone a couple years back it came with a case you would call or write your friends about. So, lets show some appreciation to your customers, who make you RICH.
Also, "Happy New Year", all!