United Arab Emirates-based satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) and broadband satellite technologist Hughes Network Systems (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation, have confirmed the completion of a joint venture arrangement to provide greater access to commercial Ka-band satellite broadband services across Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
The joint venture was officially announced in September 2018, during the World Satellite Business Week Conference held in Paris and was at the time subject to regulatory and other approvals, which have now been obtained.
The pair say the collaboration will see Yahsat combine its position and knowledge as the leading provider of satellite broadband solutions within its current markets with Hughes’ expertise as the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services. Together, the two companies will continue to provide unserved and underserved communities with reliable, high-speed Internet services via Yahsat’s Al Yah 2 and Al Yah 3 Ka-band satellites, while utilising the capabilities of the Hughes’ innovative systems, designed and optimised for large scale High-Throughput Satellites. The newly formed joint venture company will go to market as ‘YahClick (powered by Hughes)’ and will be operational with immediate effect.
While the company’s board of directors consists of three members from Yahsat and two members from Hughes, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer (Yahsat) will serve as the chairman of the board and Pradman Kaul, President and Chief Executive Officer (Hughes) will serve as a board director.
“In finalisation of this joint venture with Hughes, we’re building upon the digital landscape of our target regions to empower and enable communities, governments and businesses in unserved and underserved communities to realise economic and social benefit from Yahsat’s high-performance satellite broadband services.” commented Mahmood. “This is an important step in unlocking not only our potential, but the potential of those we serve by combining our respective leadership and global experience.”
“The commencement of the joint venture furthers Hughes’ commitment to bridging the global digital divide, bringing unserved and underserved communities everywhere the benefits of the connected experience,” added Kaul. “We are pleased to join with long-time partner Yahsat in serving these important and growing markets.”
The joint venture will provide ‘direct-to-premise services’ to homes and small to medium-sized enterprises, and to community centres and schools that are served under local government programmes across the focus regions. The agreement also offers ‘community hotspot’ solutions to make satellite-enabled broadband more accessible to many more users across Yahsat’s global footprint, which today covers more than 1 billion people. Furthermore, the agreement enhances the trend within the Mobile Network Operator community to benefit from the efficiencies provided by Ka-band-based backhaul and carrier solutions.