Brazil authorises Hughes’ Jupiter 3 satellite

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Hughes Network’s massive Jupiter 3 satellite will be one of the largest in orbit when it launches next year. Brazil has approved its use to serve the nation with Ka-band capacity.

Maxar Technologies is building the craft which is likely to be launched in the second-half of next year.

Jupiter 3, also known as EchoStar 24, can handle 500 gigabit-per-second capacity and will provide expansion capacity for EchoStar/Hughes over both North and South America. The signing of the Brazil contract is an extremely useful step for Hughes.

EchoStar/Hughes is on something of a high. The company added a net 39,000 new subscribers in Q1 this year bringing its total count to some 1.52 million. Indeed, the Hughes division is fast turning into EchoStar’s cash cow with revenues of $458 million for Q1 this year out of EchoStar’s overall $466 million. There was still a net loss for EchoStar overall of almost $58 million but the trend is upward.

Michael Dugan, EchoStar’s CEO told analysts that there was still some capacity on its existing Jupiter 2 craft but not in urban areas.

The new capacity will also please Facebook which is already developing – with Hughes – WiFi hot spots in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Peru and is planning expansion during this year into Ecuador and Chile.

EchoStar is also hoping for a refreshed business relationship with OneWeb now that its bankruptcy seems to be ending. EchoStar was a small investor in OneWeb (a modest 2.57 per cent stake) in return for $190 million-worth of gateway ground-station contracts and the potential prospects of working with OneWeb in some markets.


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