Arabsat goes for 50/50 satellite

Arabsat is linking with Inmarsat to provide a joint-venture satellite at Arabsat-owned Hellas-Sat’s orbital slot. The twin-mission spacecraft will supply Inmarsat with extra, and valuable, S-band capacity for aircraft users to tap into in-flight services.

The second mission will add 44 Ku-band transponders – and dubbed Hellas-Sat 3 – and part-replace the capacity on Hellas-Sat 2 as well as add extra bandwidth across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Thales-Alenia Space will build the satellite, for an intended launch in 2016.

Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat President & CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hellas-sat, said “ This agreement represents the first milestone in fulfilling our commitment to our shareholders to capture additional growth opportunities, especially after the acquisition of Hellas-sat . Hellas-sat-3 also represents our commitment to Hellas-sat’s existing and loyal customers and partners in maintaining and expanding their business and continue to establish 39deg E as one of the leading DTH hotspots in Europe.  This is the first satellite contract among our announced 4 satellites’ program; Negotiations with Inmarsat started last November and was just recently concluded. The flexible design of our program’s bid in terms of process and selection criteria has allowed for this agreement to realise and to be carved out of the bid.”

Rupert Pearce, Inmarsat CEO, said, “North America has seen rapid take-up of in-flight passenger connectivity.  The success of the GoGo air-to-ground network has already triggered the building of a second competing network by AT&T, one of the world’s largest telecommunications operators.  Independent research predicts that in-flight connectivity services will be a multi-billion dollar revenue sector by 2020. Inmarsat’s initiative announced today represents a major new business opportunity that is expected to deliver incremental profitable growth in the years to come and to deliver a strong return on investment.”

Both Inmarsat and Arabsat agree that this joint satellite agreement will reduce significantly both parties’ costs over the three years of the project .

Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas-sat has further commented ”Hellas Sat will continue to develop the location 39degE to be the leading DTH hotspot in Europe, Hellas-sat 3 will cater for additional capacities and services for HD and free to air channels and will guarantee additional room for our existing customer base to grow. Hellas-sat will leverage 39deg E  by adding another satellite; Hellas-sat 4 with wide coverage and intensive Ku- beams over Europe, Middle East and Africa for different types of broadcasting and telecommunication services, in addition to a multi spot Ka-beams payload for broadband and business networks. The constellation of both Hs-3 and Hs-4 will provide extensive redundancy and backup capacities to further secure DTH networks and customer base and guarantee the sustainability of the business and provide competitive advantage to its customers in Europe and other areas.  Hs-4 is currently included in the 4 satellite program’s bid earlier announced by Arabsat.”.

Both Rupert Pearce and Khalid Balkheyour concluded, “We are very excited by the potential for this project to generate significant future returns for both of our shareholders, while bringing exciting new services to our customers.  Through our shared payload partnership we have lived up to our commitment to significantly minimise both risk and financial cost of our investment plans, while enabling a project with high potential returns.  By spreading the cost of the investment over a period of several years we can manage the cost of the project while still creating value for shareholders from our existing operations and infrastructure.

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