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Yahsat takes stake in eSAT Global

October 12, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Abu Dhabi-based satellite operator Yahsat is aquiring a minority stake in California-based eSAT Global. Yahsat has used its Thuraya subsidiary for the acquisition. eSAT Global is an Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions provider that it says will bring a new disruptive, low-cost, low-latency, direct-to-satellite IoT service to the market.

The service will start later in 2023. The amount of investment was not disclosed.

The overall IoT market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22 per cent over the next five years to $525 billion and the satellite IoT business is forecasted to generate a cumulative revenue of $6 billion over the same period. The investment in eSAT represents an opportunity to participate in a fast-growing sector that is still significantly under-penetrated, and is closely aligned with Yahsat’s strategy of prioritising growth sectors.

The IoT platform will also integrate capabilities to support low-cost texting services which will enable constant connectivity for smartphone users, particularly in emergencies. This builds off eSAT’s Remote Text Service (eRTS) which was announced in October 2021.

In addition to Yahsat’s investment in eSAT, Thuraya, its mobility business, has signed a commercial agreement with eSAT, which will provide Thuraya with secure and long-term access to an end-to-end Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) IoT system and portfolio. The system will work over Thuraya’s Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) GEO assets and provide customers with IoT portfolio access on a global scale, by leveraging Yahsat’s group’s prTesence in over 150 countries. The partnership with eSAT will enable Thuraya’s service partners to address critical IoT requirements in key segments, including smart agriculture, environmental monitoring, digital maritime and cold-chain tracking. Thuraya, in collaboration with eSAT, is planning to launch the IoT system and portfolio and commence commercial activities by Q4 2023.

Rick Somerton, eSAT’s chief executive, said the Yahsat partnership “has been a long time in the making, going back several years when we demonstrated the suitability of Thuraya’s satellites for IoT.”

Designed specifically for IoT and low data rate applications, the new platform will leverage Thuraya’s existing (T2 & T3) and future MSS GEO satellites, including Thuraya 4-NGS, Yahsat’s forthcoming next-generation L-band satellite. The service requires no terrestrial repeater infrastructure or backhaul, while providing seamless coverage across the globe. Devices equipped with the new eSAT communication module will be able to communicate with satellites using very low transmit power anywhere within Thuraya’s footprint.

Besides its enhanced versatility and industry-leading performance, the new IoT platform offers multiple advantages to solutions providers and integrators to manufacture and customise new and existing products and solutions with connectivity and high mobility. The new platform has been designed with 5G implementation considerations to support seamless integration and interoperability within terrestrial IoT ecosystems. It provides solutions that Mobile Network Operators (MNO) cannot provide terrestrially, has ubiquitous coverage, and will deliver always-on reliable solutions for critical IoT applications.

Commenting on the deal, Ali Al Hashemi, CEO at Yahsat Group, said: “Yahsat’s investment in eSAT, combined with Thuraya’s commercial agreement, is aligned with our belief in the outsized impact of the IoT sector for the satellite and space industry today and in the years to come. Through this partnership, we will be able to serve our customers even more effectively by offering smart, reliable, and customisable solutions that will unlock new and exciting opportunities across a range of sectors. We look forward to working closely with eSAT who brings a track record of launching successful communication products and services to market. We are confident that together we will create a powerful offering to our customers and partners.”

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