Thaicom to switch domicile?
March 20, 2014
By Chris Forrester
Thailand-based satellite operator is contemplating leaving its HQ and domicile in Bangkok and moving the entire operation to another country. The thought is that the operator would then be free of the near-continuous political – and financial – unrest that Thailand has faced in recent years.
The Bangkok Post is reporting that the satellite operator is examining 13 nearby-countries where it also has a satellite footprint.
Thaicom has suffered from extraordinary delays from the government in approving licences for new satellites, and also suffered criticism for selling two extremely old satellites to other operators without government approval. “The plan shows how Thaicom is getting impatient and unsure about its future, uncertain whether the company will suffer similar incidents again in the future,” the newspaper quoted a well-placed source.
Only on March 18th did Thaicom receive formal approval to operate Thaicom 8, which has been in the application pipeline for some time. Thaicom 8 can now go to the 78.5 degrees East slot when it is launched. However, the delay in granting the licence forced Thaicom to ask the ITU to extend Thaicom’s obligation to occupy the orbital position by two years. Normally a delay of this magnitude would see the orbital slot reallocated to another applicant. Thaicom 8, ordered from Orbital Sciences last July, should launch within the next 18 months.
Thaicom is backed in part by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatr.