The BRI board of directors is all smiles before a press conference after the company’s annual general meeting on March 23 in Jakarta.(thejakartapost.com/Anton Hermansyah)
State-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia Tbk ( BRI ) is set to launch BRIsat, the world’s first satellite dedicated to banking services, on June 9 and expects to have it online before the end of August.
BRI president director Asmawi Syam said BRIsat was scheduled to launch into orbit on the Arcane 5 rocket, belonging to Arienespace in French Guiana, the US, on June 8 at 8:30 p.m. local time, or June 9 at 03:30 a.m. Jakarta time.
“On June 9, we will reach a new milestone in the history of the banking industry, not only in Indonesia, but also in the world, when [BRI becomes] a bank that operates a satellite,” he said at a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday.
After the rocket launches, BRIsat will be positioned on its orbit at a longitude of 150 degrees East above Papua’s sky and eventually handed over to BRI in August, or 50 days after the launch.
The satellite will enable BRI to provide enhanced secure banking communications for its more than 10,300 branches and more than 50 million customers across the Indonesian archipelago, Asmawi added.
BRI, which currently has 22,000 ATMs nationwide, spent Rp 3.75 trillion ( US$250 million ) on developing the satellite in cooperation with San Fransisco-based Space Systems Loral. With the satellite, the most profitable bank in Indonesia aims to widen its banking network coverage.
“Our target in the future is to reach remote areas and serve people who currently still don’t have access to the bank,” Asmawi explained, adding that the bank had targeted signing up 10,000 new customers from remote areas.
BRIsat has 45 transponders, made up of 18 for KU-band and the remainder for C-band. The C-band allotted transponders will support financial transactions and the KU-Band ones will be for non-financial communications, BRI director Zulhelfi Abidin said.
Meanwhile, BRI director Haru Koesmahargyo says that the satellite will be viable for 15 years with an additional lifespan of two years. He estimates the BRIsat’s operation will improve the bank’s efficiency.
“By operating our own satellite, we estimate an approximate 40 percent efficiency increase, for only Rp 300 billion a year,” he said. ( ags )