Indonesia Inquiry

Communication Technology

March 31, 2011 Communities and Cultures Professional Networking Travel & Living Abroad Travel Advice 0
Cell Phone


Being in touch with others is important while traveling or living abroad. 

Cell phones/mobile phones/handphones are very popular in Indonesia. 

Internet technology has not hit most households, but there are lots of internet options for one’s cell phone and there are internet cafes scattered across the country. 

There are multiple options regarding communication technology.  Tips follow below:



* Internet cafes (warnet) are located in most major cities.  Rates can be Rp. 4000 and up per hour.  Be sure to save your data as you work in case of power outages.

* You can purchase internet minutes (like a phonecard) at most malls, and then use the wireless network at the cafes in the malls.

* Wireless internet is available at some places like Starbucks or other cafes for free.  In some cases, you need to ask the staff for the access code or password.  Some universities have free wireless access as well.

* Be very careful about the open access of connecting to free (or paid) wi-fi in public areas to avoid getting your accounts hacked.



* Many offices have fax numbers.  You may have to call in advance, though, to make sure that someone does not pick up the phone line on the other end while you are trying to fax documents.



* You can send instant messages, chat, and call family, friends, colleagues, etc. at local internet cafes, offices, and at home provided you have an internet connection and/or on your personal cell phone with a data plan.

* SKYPE: Visit, get a free account, and start chatting and calling online for free.  You will need a headset with a microphone to make calls or a built-in microphone in the computer itself.  Video cameras can enhance your phone call experience.  Skype also provides discounted domestic and international calls in case you or others do not have a headset with microphone (i.e., landline to landline or landline to handphone and vice-versa).



* Facebook:

* LinkedIn:

* Yahoo Groups:



* Many people in Indonesia rely on handphones.  In many cases, people will have a handphone and not a landline.

* Handphones can be bought for relatively cheap.  More expensive phones have more services.  You basically can buy a phone, a phone number, and minutes or “pulsas” and a data plan if you want internet access.  You can resell your handphone when you leave the country if you wish.

* “Pulsas” can be bought in various denominations (e.g., Rp. 20,000; Rp. 50,000; Rp. 100,000) and you usually pay a little extra service fee.  You can purchase pulsa cards (you scratch the back of the card to reveal your activation number and you call it in yourself) or electronic pulsas (a salesperson types the numbers for you and a text message/sms tells you when your account has been updated).  You can buy pulsas at handphone shops, street vendors, supermarkets, malls, etc.  Pulsas have a time-limit of sorts, meaning that there are active periods in which you can use your pulsas (e.g., one month).  Your pulsas can carry over when you re-activate/add pulsas to your handphone.

* How to Make Your Cell Phone Battery Last Longer:

* Warung telekomunikasi (also known as “wartel”) are typically small businesses that provide pay phones for public use.  Fees vary depending on the type and length of the call.  Most places prefer (or can only accept) cash payments.



* Store your electronic items in dry places, particularly during the rainy season.

* Put electrical cords (e.g., computer cables) in safe places such as closed bags or cabinets to avoid rats chewing on them.

* Make sure you use the right electrical input/output voltages and plugs to avoid problems (e.g., short circuts).

* When purchasing technology products, be sure to check the boxes/packaging before you leave the store to make sure the salespersons did not “trade” or change the contents.

* Keep your receipts and warranty information.

* Regarding domestic technology purchases, do not be surprised if you are not allowed to return an item even if there is a manufacturing defect or some other issue that was not in your control.

* If you bring a computer (or other tech item) from overseas, be sure to check its warranty rules and policies regarding potential repairs. Shipping a computer back and forth between Indonesia and another country for repairs can also be very costly and take a lot of time.

* Save and regularly backup all electronic data as much as possible. For example, keep data on your computer, an external hard drive, a memory stick/flash drive/USB stick, CDs, and/or storage space online (e.g., university file space, the “cloud,” etc.).