Ericsson began deliveries to Indonesia in 1907. At this time, the country was a Dutch colony, and thanks to substantial sales in the Netherlands, Ericsson was able to gain a foothold in the colonies. In the Dutch East Indies, as Indonesia was known at that time, most of Ericsson?s exports were to Java, the largest and most populous island.
Ericsson not only supplied telephones to Java, but also telephone exchanges, with deliveries totaling 20 stations from 1900 to 1920. When Indonesia became independent in 1949, the country still only had manual switching systems, of which Ericsson had supplied the lion's share. At this time, there was a sales office in Bandung.
In 1953, Ericsson supplied the country's first automatic crossbar switching system. Just four years later, crossbar switches were used in many cities on Java and Sumatra. In addition, automatic railway telephone systems were installed all over Java.
Sales to Indonesia were relatively modest, however, since telephone penetration was low.
In the late 1970s, the Indonesian company PT Erindo Utama took over sales operations from Ericsson's local subsidiary and opened a main office in Jakarta with a branch office in Bandung. This was a fortuitous arrangement. During the 1980s, PT Erindo Utama successfully launched several Ericsson products, including a PBX system for the government offices and the country's first mobile telephone system. In 1994, a GSM system, delivered by Ericsson, was taken into operation for the first time in Indonesia.
Ericsson's success in Indonesia was achieved without the sale of the AXE system, which was not approved for use in Indonesia until 1997.
Ericsson's local company Ericsson Indonesia was established in 1996. The company's operations consist of marketing, project management and network monitoring. During the civil unrest in Indonesia in the late 1990s, the number of local employees was reduced from 500 to 300, and contracted employees were reduced in number from 70 to slightly more than 20. Although the market softened, demand for mobile phones remained relatively stable.