PT Indosat Tbk

PT Indonesian Satellite Corporation Tbk (PT Indosat) is Indonesia's 2nd telecommunication services provider and satellite operator. It currently operates two satellites (Palapa-C2 & Palapa-D) in orbit and has one satellite (Palapa-E) planned for 2016.


PN Telekomunikasi was established by the Government on November 10, 1967 as a foreign investment company to provide international telecommunications services in Indonesia. The company started commercial operations in September 1969 and was planning to build, transfer and operate an International Satellite Organization (Intelsat) and earth stations in Indonesia to access Intelsat’s Indian Ocean Region satellites for a period of 20 years.

In 1974, PN Telekomunikasi was further divided into two state-owned companies. Perusahaan Umum Telekomunikasi (Perumtel) provided domestic and international telecommunications services, while PT Industri Telekomunikasi Indonesia (PT INTI) manufactured telecommunications equipment. A further division in 1980 saw the international telecommunications business taken over by the newly established PT Indonesian Satellite Corporation (Indosat).  The company connected to Intelsat satellite network and built up a Teleport in Indonesia, to access Intelsat's Indian Ocean Region satellites until 1989.

By 1998 the industry landscape underwent considerable changes and reformations resulting in the elimination of the joint ownership, by TELKOM and Indosat, of most of the telecommunications companies in Indonesia. Later that year (28 September 1998), as an effort to improve the global competitiveness of Indonesian satellite operators, the ASSI was established by five satellite operators, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, PT Indosat Tbk, PT Satelindo (merged with PT Indosat Tbk in 2004), PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) and PT Media Citra Indostar.

Following regulatory changes in the Indonesian telecommunications industry in 1999 and 2000, PT Indosat began implementing a strategy designed to transform the company from being Indonesia’s primary international telecommunications provider into a leading, fully integrated telecommunications network and service provider.

Subsequent to the agreement with PT Telkom, PT Indosat acquired an effective 45% ownership interest in Satelindo, through their acquisition of PT Bimagraha Telekomindo, or Bimagraha, in 2001 and acquired the remaining 25% ownership interest in Satelindo from DeTe Asia in June 2002.

On November 20, 2003, the company merged with Satelindo, Bimagraha and IM3 and all assets and liabilities of such legacy subsidiaries were transferred.

In 2012 PT Telkom and PT Indosat agreed to provide joint satellite services for their subscribers in Indonesia. The new satellite, Palapa-E would operate to meet future need of HD television and telecommunication services of Indonesia. Both the companies agreed to spend USD 200 million for the procurement of the Palapa-E spacecraft that was contracted to be built by US based Orbital Sciences Corporation. The new satellite replaced the Palapa-C2, which stopped services in 2014.

Palapa History

The Indonesian satellites carry the name "Palapa," a word that signifies unity. The name Palapa was chosen by president Suharto and means 'fruits of labor'. The country has more than 13,000 islands, and satellites are the most efficient and effective way of uniting them with communications services. Each succeeding generation of Palapa satellites was significantly larger and more powerful than the one it replaced, as demand for services grew.

The program was started in February 1975, when the government of Indonesia awarded the contract to Boeing (Hughes), with two satellites each with 12 transponders (for a total of 24), and 40 earth stations. Nowadays the system has three satellites, each with 24 transponders (for a total of 72 transponders), and thousands of earth stations.


The first satellite was launched on Jan. 31, 1996, on an Atlas-2AS booster and placed at 113° E. The second satellite was launched on 15 May 1996 on an Ariane-44L H10-3 rocket from Kourou, French Guyana. The rockets carried the satellites into geostationary orbit, 36,000 km above the equator.

The two series-A satellites were built by Boeing (Hughes). The Palapa-A1 was launched on July 8th 1976 and the Palapa-A2 satellite was launched on March 3rd, 1977 both on a Delta 2914 rocket.

For the series-B four satellites were built. They were all of the type Hughes HS-376. When the launch of Palapa-B2 on Feb 3rd, 1984 failed, a third satellite was ordered. Originally named Palapa-B3 and scheduled for STS-61-H, it was finally launched as Palapa-B2P on March 2nd 1993. Meanwhile Palapa-B2 was salvaged from LEO-orbit with a second Shuttle mission, the STS-51-A and was then refurbished and relaunched later as Palapa-B2R on 13 April 1990. The Palapa-B4 was launched on May 13th, 1992.

For the series-C two satellites of the HS-601 type were launched in 1996. After an electric power anomaly had occurred, the Palapa-C1 satellite apparently lost its ability to recharge batteries. A Battery Charge Controller is no longer functioning, which means that the satellite is without a power backup during the eclipse periods that occur twice a year. The satellite was declared unusable for its planned mission, insurance claims were paid, and the title of the satellite was passed to the insurers. Hughes Global Services acquired the satellite, and developed procedures necessary to maintain full geostationary service operations except during eclipse itself and brief periods on either side of each eclipse event. For a total of 88 days per year, the satellite has to be switched off for three hours per day on average. Overall availability of the spacecraft's transponders remains at 96%. Indonesia declared the satellite as unusable and transferred it back to Hughes who renamed it in HGS-3 before leasing it to Turksat as Anatolia-1. Pakistan’s Paksat acquired the spacecraft from Hughes for full lease and renamed it in PakSat-1. The satellite was retired in 2011.

The Palapa-C2 satellite was launched successfully on May 16th, 1996 on board of an Ariane-44L rocket from the Kourou launch site in French Guyana.

The Palapa-D satellite was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, and launched on Chinese Long March 3B rocket on 31 August 2009. After performing successfully in orbit tests, the satellite was operating commercially in 113° E orbital slot since 14 November 2009.

The Palapa-D Satellite has more transponders than its predecessors (40 transponders compared to 36 transponders of PALAPA-C2). This New Hot Bird has also more power and coverage. Having 45dBW EIRP @ peak, the C-band transponders cover the whole Indonesia, ASEAN countries, and spread out up to Australia and most of Middle East countries.

Both Palapa-D and Palapa-C2 satellites compete directly with at least six other satellite operators in the Asia Pacific Region: AsiaSat and APT Satellite Holdings, both from Hong Kong, ChinaSat from China, ThaiCom in Thailand; Malaysia’s MEASAT and Intelsat of Washington (USA) and Luxembourg.

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References: edition Oct 23, 2012 by Ananya Sundar editions 14 dec 2009 and 7 july 2014
Book: Telecommunications after The Uruguay Round by Gary Clyde


Palapa-C1 (Paksat-1, Anatolia-1, HGS-3)

Orbital Position: 38° E
Manufacturer: Hughes Satellite Systems (Boeing CSS)
Launch date: 01 Feb 1996
Launch Operator: Lockheed Martin (United Launch Alliance - ULA)
Launch vehicle: Atlas IIAS
Expected lifetime: 15 years

Note: Palapa-C1 suffered from technical problems. Indonesia declared the satellite as unusable and transferred it back to Hughes who renamed it in HGS-3 before leasing it to Turkey as Anatolia-1. Pakistan’s Paksat acquired the spacecraft from Hughes for full lease and renamed it in PAKSAT-1. The satellite was retired in 2011.


Orbital Position: 146° E
Manufacturer: Hughes Satellite Systems (Boeing CSS)
Launch date: 15 May 1996
Launch Operator: Arianespace S.A.
Launch vehicle: Ariane 44L
Expected lifetime: 15 years

Note: Retired in 2014. Satellite will be replaced by Palapa-E, a joint venture between PT Telkom and PT Indosat.


Orbital Position: 113° E
Manufacturer: Thales Alenia Space
Launch date: 31 Aug 2009
Launch Operator: China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC)
Launch vehicle: Long March LM-3B/E
Expected lifetime: 10 years


Orbital Position: 151° E
Manufacturer: Orbital Sciences Corp. (Orbital ATK, Inc.)
Launch date: TBD
Launch vehicle: TBD
Expected lifetime: 15 years

Note: The satellite is a joint venture with PT Telkom and will replace Palapa-C2.