Arabsat/Qatar satellite deal
August 20, 2013
By Chris Forrester
Arabsat has signed a groundbreaking agreement with Qatar’s Es’HailSat. The deal takes the shape of a “strategic partnership” at the 26 degrees East orbital spot. Arabsat already has satellite capacity at 26 degrees East, while Es’HailSat’s first satellite will launch on August 29th to the adjacent 25.5 degrees position.
The 26 degrees East slot is Arabsat’s ‘Hot Spot’ and has a huge footprint covering the Arab world.
The deal gives Qatar access to 500 MHz of “premium” Arabsat capacity at 26 degrees East, and which will be used on Es’HailSat’s second satellite which will be launched 2-3 years from now.
The agreement also provides for Es’HailSat and Arabsat to back-up each other’s satellites in the event of transmission problems.
Terms of the agreement have not been revealed but it is likely that Qatar is paying commercial – although wholesale – rates for the capacity.
Qatar, although a newcomer in terms of satellite ownership, is a major investor in Arabsat and would be entitled to have access to Arabsat’s capacity on commercial terms.
However, Qatar’s new satellite is a joint-venture with Eutelsat, and Eutelsat plans to market its ‘half’ of the new satellite as Eutelsat 25B. There is no news in the Arabsat/Qatar announcement as to how Eutelsat’s new capacity slots into the agreed scheme.