MagtiCom is Georgia’s leading cellular operator with “well above” two million subscribers. A year ago it leased 4 transponders from SES Astra to launch a DTH pay-TV operation and CEO Lars Reichelt says its subsidiary MagtiSat now has 40,000 subscribers, achieved in its first year.
He added that “hundreds a day” are signing up for the all-digital MPEG4 service, helped by easy access via MagtiCom’s nationwide retail stores and showrooms as well as the service’s growing number of “crystal clear” channels and growing number of HDTV transmissions.
He also said that he hoped that MagtiSat would be able to participate in the country’s DTT adoption once the tender process was finalised. Georgia is currently planning to switch off its terrestrial analogue broadcasts in line with ITU recommendations, which is by the end of 2015.
Local observers say the next step will come when Astra launches new capacity into the region later this summer with the arrival of Astra 5B which will allow expansion of services. Other local experts say that an additional 100,000 subs in this second year of operation is quite possible. MagtiSat is also examining whether it can place at least some of its services onto IPTV-based local services.