Yahsat makes strides towards launch of third satellite

Abu Dhabi-based Yahsat has moved ahead with the development of critical communications infrastructure for its expansion of broadband services to Brazil when its third satellite launches in less than two years’ time.

Al Yah 3, scheduled for service launch in early 2017, will extend the company’s YahClick satellite broadband services to an additional 19 countries and 600 million users across Brazil and Africa as the company looks to meet rising demand for broadband internet access in emerging markets.

The new satellite will cover more than 95 per cent of Brazil’s population and 60 per cent of Africa’s population.

Once the new satellite is operational, Yahsat will use a retail model to offer satellite broadband services direct to consumers, enterprise markets, internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms operators in Brazil. In Africa and the Middle East the company will continue to use third-party service providers.

Key infrastructure contract awards for Al Yah 3, announced by Yahsat yesterday, will help to ensure uninterrupted services to end-users in the vast and populous South American nation.

General Dynamics Satcom Technologies will provide the critical in-country gateways around the Sao Paulo area, which British Telecom will then maintain and Newtec’s operating systems will facilitate the provision of services direct to the end-user as well as offer local mobile operators connectivity into new and remote areas.

No values for the deals were disclosed.

Masood Sharif Mahmood, Yahsat’s chief executive, said: “We have taken another step forward towards the launch of our third satellite, Al Yah 3, which will expand our coverage and provide innovative and affordable satellite services across Brazil.”

Yahsat, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development, said in April that YahClick was available across 12 markets – seven of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa – across 28 countries.

“The current amount of business that we have, will, after the third satellite is launched, end up being a small slice of a much larger business in terms of both subscriber numbers and revenues,” said David Murphy, Yahsat’s chief commercial officer.

The outlook for broadband demand across the board is rising, especially in emerging markets where customers have not had access to the internet and rising incomes have made it more affordable, according to Mr Murphy.

Satellite broadband demand, specifically, is also growing, even in more mature countries such the United States, because in some regions the infrastructure is still not there and there is no alternative because the high cost of building it is prohibitive, he said.

“With technologies advancing, prices come down [and] with the third satellite we will be able to provide data services much cheaper than before,” said Mr Murphy.

Yahsat is also targeting demand from the corporate sector with companies looking to use satellite broadband as a contingency during outages. The financial sector in emerging markets also offers an opportunity, with banks in Brazil and Africa expanding into new and rural areas. Satellite connectivity is the only option they have, particularly, for example, for their ATM networks, according to Mr Murphy.


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