With over 260 million mobile subscribers in Indonesia, choosing a provider can be difficult. The top three – Telkomsel, Indosat Ooredoo, and XL Axiata – battle for customers through coverage, speeds, pricing and extras. But which network truly provides the best experience?

This post analyzes the key strengths and weaknesses of each major operator to help you decide. We’ll compare factors like coverage, 4G availability, data plans, prices and features to uncover which Indonesia mobile provider might be the best choice.

indonesia mobile operators

I. List of Indonesia Mobile Operators

1. Main Indonesia Mobile Operators

There are four major mobile network operators in Indonesia:

Company Ownership Year Established Subscribers in Indonesia Mobile Services
Telkomsel Owned by Telkom Indonesia (69.9%) and Singtel (30.1%) 1995 More than 170 million 4G LTE mobile services
Indosat Owned by Ooredoo Hutchison Asia 1967 Around 102 million GSM, 3G, 4G, and other services
XL Axiata Owned by Axiata Group 1989 About 57.5 million GSM, 3G, 4G, and other services
Smartfren Owned by Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas 2002 10.1 million active subscribers Exclusively using a 4G LTE network

2. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Indonesia

There appears to be currently only one reported MVNO that plans to enter the Indonesian market – Redone Mobile. Redone Mobile is listed as a pre-launch MVNO, indicating it aims to expand its operations from Malaysia to other Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, but has yet to officially launch in the country.

III. Choosing the Best Indonesia Mobile Operator

how to choose mobile operators

Network coverage

Telkomsel has the widest coverage throughout Indonesia, including remote areas. It has signals in about 98% of the country. XL Axiata and IM3 also provide good coverage on the main islands like Java, Sumatra, Bali and Lombok. So Telkomsel would be the best option if you plan to travel across different islands.


Compare data allotments and speeds across operators. 3 Indonesia offers fastest 4G speeds.

Data Packages

All major operators like Telkomsel, IM3 and XL Axiata offer a wide range of daily, weekly and monthly data packages to choose from. Make sure to compare the data and validity period included as well as any bonus data or benefits. IM3’s Yellow Packs provide good value 1GB packages.


While coverage is important, speed is also a factor, especially for streaming or downloading large files. Based on open signal reports, average speeds on XL Axiata and IM3 networks tend to be better than Telkomsel in major cities.


If planning to travel beyond Indonesia, check which operator has good roaming coverage in neighboring countries like Malaysia, Singapore or Australia. IM3 and XL Axiata provide roaming partnerships that offer affordable rates.

Customer Service

Do check reviews about the responsiveness, online support tools and complaint resolution process of different operators to choose the one with best customer service standards.

IV. Best Indonesia Mobile Operators – Detailed Comparison

Indonesia has a competitive mobile market with several network providers to choose from. As a traveler or expat living in Indonesia, it’s important to select an operator that suits your needs in terms of coverage, price, and features. Here is a breakdown of the top mobile operators in Indonesia and factors to consider when choosing one:

Category Telkomsel Indosat 3 XL Smartfren
Video Experience (0-100 Points) 60.4 57.8 57.3 55.2 46.4
Download Speed Experience 22.0 Mbps 18.9 Mbps 15.3 Mbps 17.7 Mbps 13.0 Mbps
Upload Speed Experience 9.5 Mbps 7.7 Mbps 8.5 Mbps 7.7 Mbps 1.9 Mbps
Voice App Experience 74.6 73.1 75.6 73.1 74.1
Coverage Experience (0-10 Points) 8.9 8.5 8.7 8.6 8.4
Consistent Quality 61.5% 59.7% 61.2% 59.9% 58.7%


In choosing a provider, consider your needs, locations of travel, duration of stay, and browsing habits. Telkomsel and IM3 offer the widest coverage while XL and Smartfren are more data-focused. Weigh factors like coverage, pricing, features and purchasing convenience to pick the best fit.

V. Where to Buy SIM Card from Indonesia Mobile Operators?

As a visitor to Indonesia, you’ll need to purchase a prepaid SIM card to stay connected via your mobile device. Here is an overview of where to buy SIM cards from the major mobile network operators in Indonesia.


You can purchase Telkomsel SIM cards, called SimPATI, Kartu As or Loop cards, at any of their GraPARI branded stores. These official stores can be found across Indonesia and are the best places to buy a card, as they can provide assistance with registration which is required.

Alternatively, you may find Telkomsel SIMs sold at convenience stores, but GraPARI stores are preferable for registration purposes. Popular GraPARI locations include airports and train stations. Telkomsel also offers a tourist SIM package available online.

Indosat IM3 (now Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison)

Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison (the merged entity of Indosat and Tri Indonesia) SIM cards sold under the Freedom brand are readily available at small shops and resellers displaying their signs. However, for registration it’s best to purchase from an official Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison brand store. These retail outlets can be located via their online store locator. As with Telkomsel, purchasing from an official store ensures proper registration compliance.

XL Axiata

XL Axiata SIM cards can be found for sale at convenience stores, phone shops and resellers throughout Indonesia. However, XL Axiata branded stores offer the most reliable option for registration. Use their store finder tool to locate an XL Axiata center near you.


Smartfren operates solely on 4G which limits coverage outside major cities. Smartfren SIM cards can be purchased from their branded Smartfren Centers, as well as selected electronics stores and mobile kiosks in areas with 4G coverage such as Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya.

By purchasing your SIM card from an official operator store, you can ensure proper registration in compliance with local regulations. And the stores also offer the ability to get assistance if any issues arise down the line. Shop around to find the best data package to suit your needs during your stay in Indonesia.

VI. Do Indonesia Mobile Operators Offer eSIM?

eSIM (embedded SIM) facility that allows you to activate a cellular plan digitally without using a physical nano-SIM card is still in its infancy in Indonesia. Currently, only Telkomsel and Indosat Ooredoo offer limited eSIM services:

  • Telkomsel – Provides eSIM facility exclusively for iPhone users on postpaid MAXstream 88, Max 10GB, and Max Unlimited plans. eSIM activation is done through MyTelkomsel app.
  • Indosat Ooredoo – Offers eSIM on select iPhone models for its postpaid Freedom plans activated via Freedom app.

Other mobile operators like XL Axiata and 3 Indonesia are expected to roll out eSIM services in 2023 targeting premium postpaid customers. But eSIM adoption is still low in Indonesia.

Another excellent option for travelers is purchasing an eSIM plan directly from a specialist provider like indonesiaesim.com. We offer temporary packages that instantly activate upon arrival in the country without drawbacks. Plans are available for as little as 5 days up to a month, with generous daily data allowances ranging from 3GB to 50GB using XL and Indosat networks – major Indonesia mobile operators.

Indonesiaesim.com allows easy management of your eSIM directly through their website. After purchase, you gain access to a web portal. Here you can scan the provided QR code to activate, change plans if needs change during your trip, customize with additional data packages, monitor usage and balance in real-time, or update payment or contact details if needed.

how indonesiaessim.com benefits you
To set it up, first check out our device eSIM compatibility list.

Select the plan that suits your duration in Indonesia then complete checkout – the activation QR code arrives instantly to your email. Go to cellular settings, scan the code, accept terms and your eSIM activates.

Now you can use data like a regular SIM while traveling conveniently. Assistance via email or live chat 24/7 in English is available for any issues. Having full control of your eSIM plan through indonesiaesim.com’s portal makes administration simple. Customize from within Indonesia or before traveling for hassle-free connectivity.

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Which SIM card is best for tourists in Indonesia?

Telkomsel SIM is the best option for tourists due to its unrivalled coverage across Indonesia. The prepaid tourist SIM card offers 7GB data and free 1000 minutes talktime valid for 7 days. It provides reliable connectivity throughout Indonesia.

Which is cheaper – prepaid or postpaid plans in Indonesia?

Prepaid plans offer more flexibility and control on spending. Prepaid SIM cards are available for as low as IDR 10,000 with calling credit. High data packs like 25GB 4G costs around IDR 150,000 valid for 30 days on Telkomsel prepaid. Postpaid has monthly charges but higher data limits like 50GB for IDR 200,000 on 3 Indonesia postpaid.

Can I use my Indonesian SIM card in other countries?

Indonesia mobile operators like Telkomsel, XL Axiata allow roaming in other countries with add-on packs activated. But roaming data charges are expensive so getting a local SIM is cheaper when travelling outside Indonesia.

How is the mobile network coverage in Bali, Jakarta, Bandung?

Telkomsel has best coverage in Bali followed by Indosat Ooredoo. In Jakarta and Bandung, all major operators have excellent 4G coverage with Telkomsel having an edge. XL Axiata also has strong presence in these cities.

VIII. Final Words

Indonesia has a vibrant telecom market with presence of all major operators like Telkomsel, Indosat, XL Axiata and 3 Indonesia competing actively. Telkomsel stands out as the best Indonesia mobile operator with its unparalleled network coverage, value added services and customer support. It provides consistent connectivity for locals and tourists travelling across Indonesia.

For affordable unlimited data usage in cities, 3 Indonesia is also a great 4G-only option. Other operators like Indosat and XL Axiata also have their niche presence. Overall, with multiple options available, choosing the right Indonesian SIM card is about aligning with your specific usage needs.