Case Study: Telstra

Joint venture unlocking Indonesia's market potential for Telstra


With more than 30 years' experience in Southeast Asia, Telstra is building a formidable portfolio of acquisitions, joint ventures and accelerators in the region.

Telstra's services to business and government clients in ASEAN range from voice and data to network management, security and unified communications. In recent years, Telstra has established an enterprise services joint venture with PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom Indonesia).

When considering how to access the Indonesian market, the Australian telecommunications company devised a two-pronged strategy: work with a local partner and focus on enterprise solutions for Indonesian corporate accounts. Telkom Indonesia and Telstra agreed in 2014 to create the PT Teltranet Aplikasi Solusi (telkomtelstra) joint venture.

Erik Meijer, President Director telkomtelstra and Telstra's Country Managing Director, Indonesia, describes Indonesia's enterprise services market as "very big and untapped".

'We work with our joint venture partner Telkom to manage sales, while telkomtelstra undertakes product development and service management,' Meijer says.

Market education is a key priority for telkomtelstra. The joint venture is helping prospective clients in Indonesia understand the value of managed network services, the cloud, software-as-a-service and security solutions.

'That level of market awareness and value perception is the big difference between Indonesia and Australia at the moment,' Meijer says.

The venture has localised its services and adjusted its pricing to meet market requirements, while overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities – particularly for managed network services – presented by inconsistent infrastructure quality across Indonesia.

By early September 2017, telkomtelstra had employed 134 team members: 15 from Telkom Indonesia, 9 from Telstra and the remainder local hires by the joint venture.

'We have started to implement a lot of automation so the rate of employee growth will be slow going forward,' Meijer says. 'For the people we do have, we have invested heavily in training and skills transfer to provide high-quality services to clients.'

telkomtelstra has implemented a series of progressive workplace policies to improve employee satisfaction and productivity. These include a 'dynamic workspace initiative' featuring hot-desking, diversity and inclusion policies and a 'Brilliant Connected Women' program to empower female leaders in the business.

The joint venture partners have also established a talent exchange program that enables employees from one partner to spend six months working with the other partner.

'This program will further enhance the global mindset of both companies,' Meijer says.

Austrade has provided considerable support to the venture, including introducing telkomtelstra executives to people and companies who may assist its progress. This has proven particularly useful in winning business from Australian companies operating in Indonesia.

'It makes so much sense for them to work with us because they can link seamlessly back to their Australian business as well,' Meijer says.

telkomtelstra is also taking a keen interest in discussions between Indonesia and Australia about cyber security cooperation and the market opportunities that greater coordination between the two countries could present.

With telkomtelstra now well established, the partners are looking at ways of using its development work to enter new markets.

'That includes using our very good crew of people who collectively are fully certified in a number of technologies,' Meijer says. 'The opportunities in Southeast Asia and beyond are considerable.'