Waiting for the iPhone 5 in Indonesia: Go Official, or Smuggle One In?

Karlina Octaviany

Apple unveiled its next chapter with the iPhone 5 launch very early this morning. The first batch of country releases will be on September 21. Singapore is the closest country to Indonesia to first get the slimmer iPhone 5. The second phase of launches is on September 28, 2012. As usual, Indonesia is not on that list - and so the wait goes on. If we look back in time, the iPhone 4S came to Indonesia in January 2012. Indonesians had to wait three months from the time of the pre-orders in October 2011. It looks like history will repeat itself, as predicted by an Indonesian Apple products distributor, who reckons that the iPhone 5 might arrive in the nation in January 2013. But perhaps pre-orders will begin in November from the mobile carrier, Telkomsel. Apple’s iPhone partner in the country always reveals package deals less than a week from the launch. As a benchmark, we can use the iPhone 4S pricing by two operator partners, XL and Telkomsel in January 2012. Telkomsel offered the 16GB version of the iPhone 4S for Rp7,7 million ($803.51) unlocked, while XL was slightly higher at Rp7,99 million ($833.77). For the 32GB one, Telkomsel was cheaper than XL at Rp8,8 million ($918.29), while XL headed up to Rp9,199 million ($959.93). Telkomsel sold the 64GB iPhone 4S for Rp9,9 million ($1,033.08) and XL for Rp10,399 million ($1,085.15). The operators have no info yet about the iPhone 5. Head of marketing communications at Telkomsel, Irlamsyah Syam, said that there has been no discussion yet regarding the iPhone 5. The public relations manager at XL Axiata, Henry Wijayanto, also said that XL still hasn’t decided yet. For now, Henry said that XL is still in intense communications with Apple’s iPhone representative. While Apple is moving forwards to LTE with the iPhone 5, Indonesia’s telcos are still struggling to use the last two remaining blocks of the 3G channel. The last chapter of the 3G channel saga in Indonesia was announced yesterday. Henry said that XL is still preparing for 3G’s tender mechanism. LTE networks which are supported by the iPhone 5 are not in the picture in the country at the moment. Henry said:

LTE network is not about technology, but regarding the regulations. We are not ready yet. We have to see the government preparedness to set up the regulations.

Mobile operators have nothing to offer for now, yet online sellers find a way to make their own announcements. Online sellers are taking this launch as an opportunity to sell iPhone 5 replicas from China. If you want the real deal and can’t wait that long, members of the online forum Kaskus who are overseas will get you your gadget via a shady route. Some have already opened pre-order to buy iPhone 5 on September 21, and then the shiny new device will be carried directly into Indonesia. Its a limited offer. Just like asking your friend to bring you something from abroad.