5G Smartphone Sales Soar in Indonesia Despite Low Network Penetration

  • 5G smartphone shipments in Indonesia rose 159% YoY in Q2 2022.
  • The growth was driven by the $150-$349 and >$500 price bands.
  • Samsung, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi led the 5G smartphone sales growth.
  • Tie-ups between mobile operators and the industrial sector can push 5G smartphone use.

Jakarta, London, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – October 24, 2022

Indonesia’s 5G smartphone shipments grew 159% YoY in Q2 2022, according to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Indonesia Smartphone Channel Share Tracker. Samsung, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi led this growth.

Source: Counterpoint Monthly Indonesia Channel Share Tracker

5G smartphones come with better, newer specifications to support the latest connectivity technology. This makes them overall a better offering than a 4G smartphone in the same price segment. From consumers’ perspective, after deciding their preferences related to “usual” specifications like RAM, display and battery, they could consider 5G to keep their smartphone future-ready. Therefore, consumers treat 5G as a value addition till they are offered 5G services by the operators. It is this factor that is driving the growth of 5G smartphones.

Source: Counterpoint Monthly Indonesia Channel Share Tracker

Interestingly, 5G smartphone market growth is moving away from the mid-price segment, with the sub-$350 and >$500 price bands accounting for nearly three-quarters of all shipments. Last year’s dominant mid-band lost more than 50% of its share YoY in Q2 2022.

Growth in the lower tiers is being driven by Redmi and Samsung, with sustained consumer demand for their Note 10 5G and A22 series devices, both of which have been available since H1 2021. In the premium segment, Apple and Samsung dominate with almost 60% share.

The attractiveness of 5G smartphone specifications in the <$350 segment could lead to a shrinking of the mid-price tier. Given the competitive specifications for ROM, RAM and battery capacity, consumers prefer prices below $350 for a 5G smartphone.

Industrial sector can push 5G smartphone use

Ever since the introduction of 5G services in Indonesia in 2021, their spread has been selective, and the operators have chosen to focus more on serving the industrial sector. On the other hand, 4G has a much wider consumer base. But the country’s 5G smartphone shipments have continued to increase.

The aggressive promotion of 5G smartphones by OEMs, however, has failed to significantly convince the Indonesian mobile operators into expanding their 5G networks. This is mainly due to limited frequency availability and the absence of strong use cases on the consumer side. To resolve the frequency issue, the government recently conducted an auction for additional frequencies, such as 2.1 GHz which was won by Telkomsel. Another auction is expected soon for the low-band 700 MHz. The other option is to share frequencies among mobile operators.

Collaboration between mobile operators and enterprises (B2B) to utilize 5G for the industrial sector can increase demand on the consumer front as well. Advertising and marketing areas can prove to be low-hanging fruits in this direction. Enterprises can also leverage 5G to be used by consumers in Metaverse.

Considering that the mobile operators have been utilizing 4G and 5G together, OEMs need to keep dual SIM slots for both 4G and 5G. Also, this way a consumer can choose 4G and 5G services from different operators, considering limited 5G coverage. Smartphone OEMs should take into account what frequencies are available and what are in the regulatory pipeline. The current 5G network was built upon the existing 4G network and these frequencies are in low and mid bands. 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz and other high bands can be considered for future 5G use.


Indonesia Bets on 4G to Increase Mobile Internet Coverage; 5G to Focus on Industry for Now

Indonesia’s mobile telecom subscriptions increased 5% YoY in Q1 2022 to reach 362 million, which is 33% higher than the country’s population of 273 million. However, Indonesia wants to accelerate digitalization keeping in view Industry 4.0. In this regard, the country’s mobile network operators (MNOs) are upgrading infrastructure to expand internet coverage through 4G and selective development of 5G networks.

The country’s smartphone shipments increased 11.5% YoY in Q1 2022, according to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Indonesia Smartphone Channel Share Tracker. Demand for smartphones increased during the pandemic. It grew even further with the economic recovery that started in the second half of 2021. New mobile subscriptions are mostly coming from new and existing smartphone users. A smartphone requires a data plan to access the internet if not using Wi-Fi.

Counterpoint Research Indonesia Smartphone Shipments Market
Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Indonesia Smartphone Channel Share Tracker

There are currently four MNOs in Indonesia after the merger of Indosat Ooredoo (ISAT) and Hutchinson 3 Indonesia (H3I) in early 2022. They will play an important role in expanding and improving mobile internet connectivity across the country.

Telkomsel is the largest MNO and covered 48% of the market in Q1 2022. 68% of its 174.5 million subscribers are mobile data users. Telkomsel has base transceiver stations (BTSs) at 247,000 locations across the country, out of which more than 60% are 4G BTSs. Telkomsel has launched low-denomination data plans to attract more middle-class and younger consumers, which resulted in an ARPU decline of 5% YoY in Q1 2022 to $2.87 (IDR 41,000).

The combined ISAT and H3I, named Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson (IOH), is the second-largest MNO with 94.6 million subscribers. Its blended ARPU fell 2.1% YoY in Q1 2022 to reach $2.24 (IDR 32,000), thanks to low-denomination data plans. After the merger, reallocation of ISAT and H3I BTSs is required. The combined network will bring a wider range for a better 5G rollout as the two had 1800 MHz in different sub-ranges.

XL Axiata’s subscriber base has been almost stable over the past two years with a blended ARPU of $2.52 (IDR 36,000). XL’s 4G BTSs increased by 47% YoY in Q1 2022 to reach 83,000 (61% of its total BTSs). Its focus on customer needs makes XL offer attractive and relevant products and services from time to time. This helps it to retain its customer base.

Smartfren is a full 4G network operator. It shifted from CDMA to 4G in 2015 at 850 MHz and 2300 MHz frequencies. It had around 44,000 4G BTSs by the end of 2021. Smartfren has shown stronger performance since 2020 and had a 10% share of the market in Q1 2022. The operator is known for its affordable internet packages and for its focus on low-mid consumers. Even though its ARPU is the lowest at around $1.75 (IDR 25,000), its 4G quality is good thanks to the aggregation of 850 MHz and 2300 MHz frequencies.

Counterpoint Research Mobile Connections Share by Operator
* Indosat Ooredoo and H3I combined subscriber base as IOH in Q1 2022
Source: Company annual reports and Counterpoint Research analysis

During the pandemic restrictions, MNOs launched various digital services and partnered with other digital ecosystem players to support consumer activities through smartphones. This MNO push was triggered by the increased demand for cellular connectivity both in quality and quantity terms.

The MNOs are now focusing on two major steps in terms of increasing mobile internet penetration – 4G network expansion and 5G network development with a focus on the industrial sector.

Mobile internet spread via 4G

During the COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021, the need for a better mobile internet experience was felt more strongly as people were forced to remain indoors. Some customers were also prompted to upgrade from 3G to 4G. As a result, the MNOs were prompted to adopt 4G technology faster to improve customer experience.

The MNOs have been improving their network quality by increasing the capacity of internet gateways, adding 4G BTSs and strengthening networks, especially in residential areas. The MNOs’ preference for 4G networks, which also requires switching from 3G to 4G infrastructure, will improve mobile internet reach and quality in the country.

The MNOs aim to complete the migration from 3G to 4G by the end of 2022. The 3G shutdown has also been triggered by the fact that the 3G customer base is now comparatively small and shrinking. A 3G shutdown also allows for achieving network efficiency by maximizing the 4G spectrum and helps in 5G allocation. Indonesia’s government too looks at this migration from 3G to 4G as a step towards accelerating digital adoption in the country.

As MNOs switch from 3G to 4G, all new smartphones in the market are now 4G or 5G.

Counterpoint Research Indonesia Smartphone Shipments
Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Indonesia Smartphone Channel Share Tracker

Selective 5G network development

While 4G migration is near completion, 5G technology is gradually being introduced in Indonesia. So far, 5G has been commercially introduced by Telkomsel, IOH and XL (all in 2021). Smartfren has just received approval for a commercial launch in 2022.

As of now, 4G technology can mostly address the digital needs of the consumer segment, but it may not be sufficient for the industrial sector to usher in Industry 4.0. The MNOs are developing 5G infrastructure carefully while building relevant use cases to promote the latest network technology. This approach will limit 5G coverage but optimize its benefits. Allocation of a limited spectrum to deploy 5G networks is one reason for being selective in expanding 5G coverage, apart from developing a 5G backbone, which requires laying of fiber optic cables throughout the country.

The table below shows smaller spectrum allocation for 5G deployment. Due to this limitation, the MNOs have chosen select cities and areas for 5G coverage. While discussions on opening other potential 5G bands continue, the government aims to complete analog TV shutdown in 2022 and use its 700 MHz frequency for 5G.

The industries that can gain the most from 5G technology are the ones that require machine-to-machine connectivity, automation and low latency. 5G private networks can also be chosen to meet these and other specific needs. The Indonesian government has selected five industries as priority industries for 5G private network development – residential; industrial area and fabrication with automation; high-risk mining; health; and tourism. MNOs and enterprises can proactively collaborate in generating use cases for 5G technology.

What next?

While 4G remains the backbone of mobile connectivity in Indonesia, the digital ecosystem must be ready to face the next wave of technology – 5G. From its initial use in the industrial sector to welcome Industry 4.0, the 5G coverage can be gradually expanded to other sectors. Here, it is important that the network technology of 5G devices in the market must be compatible with the 5G bands available in Indonesia. One of the media that can bring 5G technology closer to consumers is the metaverse. Metaverse applications are expected to drive 5G growth in the consumer sector.

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iPhone 12 Devices Top List of Best-selling 5G Smartphones in 3 out of 4 Key SEA Markets

Apple and OPPO’s 5G smartphones topped the best-selling 5G models’ lists in key Southeast Asian (SEA) countries in Q2 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Global Smartphone Channel Share Tracker. The aspirational value of Apple and the 5G factor of the iPhone 12 series helped the brand maintain its volumes in the second quarter. OPPO’s Reno 5G series has been performing well in most SEA countries owing to strategic marketing campaigns and consistent discount offers from the brand.

Commenting on the 5G status in the SEA, Senior Research Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “Q2 2021 saw the SEA region recuperate from COVID-19 before running into a fresh outbreak in Q3 2021. During this time, OEMs focused on 5G smartphone shipments. Besides, consistent efforts were made by governments and operators in these countries to grow their 5G infrastructure. Key brands like Samsung, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi increased their 5G share and brought 5G models in the mid-tier as well. The iPhone 12 shipments saw a gradual dip but still managed to have a sizable portion in 5G, especially in markets like Thailand and Vietnam. Xiaomi’s increasing footprint in the SEA is being noticed by the competition and this will show in the 5G models being launched in the next few months. The coming months will see brands like realme push 5G ASPs lower.”

In 2021, all key countries in the SEA have been focused on developing and improving their 5G infrastructure:


Major operators like Telkomsel and Indosat have their 5G presence in the main cities while others are building on their capabilities as well. The coverage, however, will be limited in 2021. Current 5G networks are offered with 1.8GHz and 2.3GHz bands. Samsung and POCO are currently selling mid- to low-end 5G models while realme is making its mark with the realme 8 series. This country will see its most 5G volumes in the coming months due to the growing consumer base.


5G commercialization and adoption in Thailand has been the fastest in the region, with all 77 provinces being covered by 5G. Smart cities and industrial applications are being pursued. Apple has a much higher representation here, which boosts the 5G share even more. The launch of the iPhone 13 series will only motivate consumers to opt for the latest technology accompanying 5G. With a growing e-commerce footprint, even Tier II and Tier III towns are upgrading to 5G through brands like OPPO, Xiaomi and Samsung. Operators like AIS, TRUE and Dtac are also providing 5G smartphones through their packages.


A growing middle class even outside Metro Manila is increasing consumer interest in 5G. The country’s 5G commercialization is being led by main operators like Globe and Smart. OEMs like realme will lead the 5G charge here apart from strong contenders like Apple, OPPO and Samsung.


The government is eyeing both consumer and enterprise-level applications where 5G can play a pivotal role. Vietnamese consumers are also very inclined to adopt 5G. The country’s three major telecom operators – Viettel, NPT and MobiFone – have already started 5G trials in the country. Ericsson is working with the Vietnamese operators to build 5G infrastructure. The second half of 2021 may see the official launch of 5G services in Vietnam, though it may take a couple of years to have a countrywide 5G network.

Most SEA countries are currently reeling under high COVID-19 infection rates due to the Delta variant. Even while 5G technology is being given a push, lockdowns and other restrictions along with a sustained component shortage will have the most impact on 5G smartphone shipments. But irrespective of the overall volumes, we see the 5G proportion increasing for the region in the coming months.

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Indonesia Smartphone Shipments up 28% YoY in Q2 2021; Xiaomi Grabs Top Spot for First Time

Hong Kong, Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – September 15, 2021


Smartphone shipments in Indonesia recorded solid growth of 28% YoY and 22% QoQ in Q2 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Monthly Indonesia Channel Share Tracker. This growth was driven by the Eid al-Fitr festive offers during the first half of the quarter, and new launches. A lower base in the same quarter last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the country, also helped.

Among the smartphone players in Indonesia, Xiaomi reached its highest ever share (26%) of total shipments to become the market leader for the first time. The brand’s top models in the country include the Redmi 9C, Redmi 9A and POCO M3, popular due to features related to battery, storage and camera. vivo took the second spot with a 21% share, driven by the Y12s, Y1s and Y20s models. OPPO stood third with a 20% share as its A54, A15 and Reno 5 5G models performed well. Samsung and realme achieved fourth and fifth ranks respectively.


Indonesia Smartphone Shipments Share by Brand, Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020

Counterpoint Research Indonesia Smartphone Shipments Share by Brand, Q2 2021 vs Q2 2020

Source: Counterpoint Research Monthly Indonesia Channel Share Tracker, June 2021



Research Analyst Paula Ruth said, “The strong growth in smartphone shipments in Q2 was driven by an early recovery in consumer spending, thanks to the pent-up demand and Eid al-Fitr celebrations, combined with faster adoption of smartphones. We also observed smartphone brands in Indonesia becoming more active in the online channel to support health protocols related to the pandemic. According to Counterpoint data, the online channel accounted for around 19% of the smartphone market in Q2 2021, higher than the pre-pandemic level of 13% in Q1 2020.

During Q2, the country’s top telecommunication operators Telkomsel and Indosat Ooredoo started to launch 5G commercial services, gradually expanding the coverage. We think the consumers’ preference for 5G phones would grow with the launch of 5G services or in anticipation of getting such connectivity. Based on our Indonesia Channel Share Tracker, 5G smartphones’ share in total smartphone shipments rose from 4% in Q1 2021 to 7% in Q2 2021.

Going forward, we are slightly cautious on the smartphone market performance in Q3, given the COVID-19 resurgence around mid-June. But we see potentially more signs of recovery afterward. Current daily infections have already dropped significantly compared to the peak in July. However, the ongoing component shortages continue to pose a risk.”

Commenting on Xiaomi’s leadership in Q2, Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “Xiaomi’s success in the quarter was due to its popularity for ‘good value for money’ products, strong online presence, relatively lean inventory management, and global component shortages, which forced a competitor like Samsung to prioritize certain markets. The consumers’ preference in Indonesia has shifted more toward affordable smartphones and online purchases due to the pandemic. These preferences align well with Xiaomi’s strong points. Xiaomi not only led the overall smartphone shipments in Indonesia but also topped in online sales, grabbing around 30% share during the quarter.”



Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media, and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


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