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In Focus
NAME:Kanishka Wickrama
POSITION:Director and Acting CEO
LOCATION:Jakarta, Indonesia
With Indonesia on the cusp of significant growth, Link Net Director and Acting CEO Kanishka Wickrama shares how the company is laying the digital foundations for this next phase.

The world’s hunger for batteries and their components is reaching frenzied levels and Indonesia, with its wealth of nickel and cobalt, is ready to step up to this spiraling demand.

With the country poised on the brink of an economic revival, preparation is everything. The necessary infrastructure, both physical and digital, will need to be in place for the boom to happen – a reality that Kanishka Wickrama, the Director and Acting CEO of fast-evolving internet service provider (ISP) Link Net, fully recognizes.

Already, Link Net is the second largest fixed broadband provider in Indonesia with a network of around 3.4 million home passes, serving around 750,000 residential customers.

Its June 2022 acquisition by leading telecommunication group Axiata and XL Axiata has supercharged its growth, with a new strategy in place to ready the company for this exciting next chapter.

“We are converting XL Axiata to be the ServeCo in Indonesia and then we are in the process of transforming Link Net to become a full-fledged FibreCo in the market.”

Wickrama has worked with Axiata for almost 15 years. He was appointed as CFO in October 2022 and Acting CEO in December 2023. Now he is embarking on an ambitious journey to place the company at the forefront of the country’s transition to a global powerhouse.

The plan is for XL Axiata to become a full-fledged, fixed-mobile convergence operator, which will continue to offer fixed-mobile convergence products in the market as it transitions into what Wickrama describes as a ServeCo.

“We are converting XL Axiata to be the ServeCo in Indonesia and then we are in the process of transforming Link Net to become a full-fledged FibreCo in the market. So one of the major steps that we are making is that we are transferring our existing residential broadband customers to XL Axiata,” he tells The CEO Magazine.

“So we are accelerating the deployment of home passes. At the current point in time XL Axiata is the anchor tenant in the new deployments, but then we will be opening up the network for any other operator as well.”

Time to Reassess

Wickrama is also seizing the opportunity to reexamine the Link Net business model. “From a retail-focused business, we are going to become more of a B2B kind of business. And then, we are segregating the existing components into four different verticals,” he reveals.

The first is the ServeCo vertical, which looks after the residential broadband business. Then, the second is FibreCo while the third is the EnterpriseCo, which focuses on B2B clients.

“We have a very strong B2B customer base as well where we serve a lot of government institutes and most of the premium banks in the country,” Wickrama says.

MediaCo is the fourth component where Link Net is seeking to monetize existing content and its channel partnerships.

ZTE Indonesia
“ZTE and Link Net have been collaborating since 2017, leveraging ZTE solutions such as light-optical distribution network, modular data centers and digital infrastructure to optimize networks, ensuring seamless experiences across Java and beyond.” – Steven Li, Chief Sales Officer, ZTE Indonesia


“We have more than 200 pay TV channels signed up. So the media’s core responsibility will be monetizing the content and the pay TV that we have by reaching out to those we are trying to partner with,” he says.

As part of the restructure, the ServeCo business unit will be carved out and transferred to XL Axiata so that, going forward, the company’s growth is expected to come from FibreCo, EnterpriseCo and MediaCo.

But such a transition comes with fresh hurdles to overcome, with Wickrama identifying the greatest challenge ahead as changing the mindset of the organization.

“It’s going to be a very different portfolio compared to what we used to have, from being a very consumer-focused business and now moving into a business where it is very B2B-focused,” he says.

“We try to do everything better than what we did yesterday.”

“The priorities are going to be different, how we measure the success is going to be different. So going through this transformation, we must make sure that we change people’s mindset, change the way we work, change the way we measure, change our goals, and we might even need new skills in the organization, what we might not have at this point in time.”

As ever, communication is key, with greater transparency called for amid this structural transformation. “Just yesterday we had one session with our senior leadership team where we once again communicated the plans for 2024,” Wickrama says.

Ensuring everyone is aware of the changes afoot keeps them all moving in the same direction. In addition to this, Wickrama has a few management philosophies he likes to follow. He highlights the mantra of making ‘small improvements every day’ as a powerful force in his approach to leadership.

“We try to do everything better than what we did yesterday. So small steps at a time while keeping the end goal in mind, but we try to improve in micro steps along the way,” he says.


With such lofty ambitions comes another conundrum for Wickrama – delivering growth in a sustainable way. It’s no longer enough for the company to rely on the tried and tested methods of the past, he admits, particularly as its rate of expansion slow.

“If you look at the network rollout, we used to roll out maximum maybe 250,000 to 300,000 home passes a year,” he explains. “Now we are going into a stage where we are trying to roll out 150,000 home passes a month, which requires change.”

Link Net’s response to this shifting dynamic has been to partner with the major operators in the market, moving more into a full turnkey delivery model. At the moment, most of its rollout is done by ZTE and Huawei, with the company also working closely with innovative organizations like Multipolar Technology and Cisco.

“Multipolar Technology fully supports Link Net in accelerating digital transformation by providing high-quality cables and high-speed broadband through network backbone technologies such as internet protocols, dense wavelength-division multiplexing and maintenance.” – Wahyudi Chandra, President Director, Multipolar Technology


Internal processes are also under scrutiny with Wickrama prioritizing efficiency, analytics and automation, with Link Net partnering with organizations such as EY Indonesia, EY India and Capgemini to streamline its operations.

But even as he embraces change, Wickrama is confident that Link Net’s foundations are solid and provide the ideal basis for the company to thrive. With the company having made the transition from internet service provider to FibreCo, its lengthy experience in the sector means it has the know-how required to stand out from its competitors.

“We know how to manage customer operations,” he says. “The team here knows how to handle things like the installation at a customer premise and the troubleshooting, because this has been our bread and butter for the last few decades of operation.

“We have to succeed in this journey together.”

“The other key differentiation is that this is the second largest network in the country. So the team that we have here knows how to roll out networks faster, more efficiently and in a cost-effective manner,” he says.

“I think the third advantage is that we have the first move advantage in some of the areas where we have a pretty solid network and customer base that the other operators can leverage.”

It’s this spirit of collaboration that truly sets Link Net apart in an increasingly bustling marketplace, with Wickrama well aware that the stakes are high for all concerned if they can pull together to set the scene for Indonesia’s ascent onto the world stage.

“We have to succeed in this journey together,” he says. “If we continue to grow our network, that means that there’s going to be more work for all our key partners as well. The main message that I always tell our partners is that we have to succeed together and we have to help each other in doing that.”

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