Mobile media in Jakarta, Indonesia

Michiel de Lange, 17 oktober 2007

Jakarta - a megacity of > 15 million people

Both urban and kampung (village-like).

Often crowded (physical mobility can be challenging here).

Facilities to aid mobility, such as the busway for public transport, are not perfect (yet).

And, yes, it is still a poor city with slums. this one is right behind mobile phone centre ITC Roxy Mas (which features on the next picture).

What does the mobile media ‘landscape’ look like?

ITC Roxy Mas: 5 stories of handphone heaven…

Here you can find official products & services.

But also less official products & services (such as this ringtone booth with a huge - presumably illegal - mp3 collection).

Mobile media aesthetics

Pre-paid cards by different providers on display.

Supermarket for all your mobile needs.

Handphone (HP) possession - some figures

per household

Fixed line:

DKI Jakarta (38.6%), Kepulauan Riau (22.9%), Banten (22.2%) dan Kalimantan Timur (21.2%).


Kepulauan Riau (54%), DKI Jakarta (50%), DI Yogjakarta (39%), Kalimantan Timur (36.4%), dan Bali (34%).

(source: BPS survey 2005)


Social impact of mobile phone

A “collectivist” society becoming more individual?

Or new ways of sharing and being social?

videovideo (1.8 MB)


A new language

Gw g taw,,c iwan jg g taw.lo cb dtg lgs di graha mobicel jl.mampang prapatan gw taw lg dah,,rabu gw lbr.ikut dunkz, ,

(SMS from Dyah to a friend)


Advertisement “Mulutmu, Harimaumu” (your mouth is your tiger): culture of just saying anything you think, aided by new technologies such as blogs, mobile phone.


Sex & morality

Mobile sex video prompts virginity tests in Indonesia

A plan to carry out virginity tests on female high school students in a district in Indonesia's West Java province has been dropped after a public outcry, reports Reuters.


News item mobile phone pornography:

videovideo (2 MB)


New website initiative: (“don’t go naked in front of the camera)”


3 types of mobility

1. physical mobility (navigating the city)

Ramon - collects hair from barbers, sells it to salons, navigates the city via his handset.

Three guys from Papua for the first time in the Big Durian (=Jakarta). ”we use our handphones if we’re lost in the city”.

2. social-economic mobility (“vertical mobility”)

Hatta, started his own mobile phone shop in Mall Ambassador.

Ira, from small village in central Java, moves to work in the city. First item she buys: HP.

3. symbolic mobility

Dyah, from one of Jakarta’s poorer neighborhoods, loves music. She shows her newest and most valuable possession bought with first wage: a Walkman phone. An imaginary step into Indonesia’s modern lifestyle where portable, personal technologies tell who you are.


Mobile media & cultural identities

tradition: snapping away at each other, while wearing regional costumes on 62th National Freedom Day (hari kemerdekaan August 17).

videovideo (3.9 MB)


Modern: major provider Telkomsel new interior design, style “futuristic” (Customer Service Wisma Slipi).

Some examples of mobile media featuring as icons of modernity:

The modern woman & her handphone:


videovideo (2 MB)

Urban & ‘global’ identities @ Ancol Urbanfest '07 (all filmed by mobile devices):

videovideo (2.2 MB)


LG phone commercial in modern neighbor Malaysia:

videovideo (1.9 MB - terrible audio)


<the final pic where it all comes together>

Play, identity, and the mobile phone

National Freedom Day: climbing the grease pole to win a mobile phone.