Indonesians may have to say goodbye to pulsa.
Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kemkominfo) and Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI) are planning to forbid all operators to distribute their products as ‘pulsa’ (phone credit). They put this under the priority of their planning this year. The operators still can distribute the product with different term, called ‘deposit’.
According to Sigit Puspito Wigati, a committee member of BRTI, the term ‘pulsa’ is ambiguous and it does not support mobile payment business. It seems this is a government initiative to educate the people about mobile payment.
“Pulsa is no longer valid because it is used for analogue phone. Moreover, the value is not clear because it has distribution program element from operators. Different from pulsa, deposit is the real value that the customers pay to operators,” said Sigit in Jakarta.
Another BRTI committee member, Riant Nugroho added that If we keep on using the term ‘pulsa’, there will be moral depreciation because of the term misuse. Not only that, it will also detain the operators to penetrate into mobile payment business. Indirectly, it will harm the banking sector because it slows down the business.
This initiative received the support from operators like Telkomsel and Indosat. Telkomsel Main Director, Alex J Sinaga mentioned that pulsa is used as a payment method, which will increase the credibility of local operators in negotiating with global players. Erik Meijer, Director & Chief Commercial Officer Indosat also claimed that it is the right thing to use pulsa as a medium of payment because the transaction comes from Indonesian.
Even though mobile payment is not new in Indonesia, this year the government and the operators are taking this thing seriously. This enforcement will be a good action to educate the Indonesian about mobile payment. Who knows next year mobile payment will dominate the business transaction as an alternative of credit card. Nowadays, almost all people have mobile phones, but how many of them have credit cards?
Apart from mobile payment, if we look back at the past one year, the change of term ‘pulsa’ might be also related to the “Black October” case in 2011. The incident that caused many mobile subscribers to lose their phone credits because of the action done by irresponsible parties leaves the subscribers with negative perceptions about the term ‘pulsa’. With this rebrand, is it a sign from the regulatory body to start re-structuring the mobile industry in Indonesia?
About the author
Sandra is a technology enthusiast and she is passionate about the industry. After graduating from University of South Australia, Sandra gained an experience in mobile VAS in Malaysia before coming back to Jakarta. She also served as a Secretariat in Malaysian Mobile Content Providers Association (MMCP) back then. Apart from that, she has the experience in mobile game in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Sandra enjoys reading a book and chill out at nice cafe accompanied by good coffee and she likes meeting new people.
Image Credits: Info Pulsa dan Selular
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