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Eutelsat and Thaicom team for software-defined satellite across Asia

Leading satellite operator expands in-orbit assets to address surging demand for connectivity in Asian region, closing collaborative partnership model to deliver ubiquitous telecommunication services

Just days after the leading OneWeb stakeholder claimed to have achieved its objectives in its 2022/23 financial year, announcing strong commercial momentum in its connectivity verticals, the Asian subsidiary of leading satellite operator Eutelsat has signed a partnership agreement with Space Tech Innovation Limited (STI), a subsidiary of leading Asian satellite operator Thaicom, related to a new software-defined satellite (SDS) to be positioned at the 119.5° East orbital slot over Asia.

A partner for many of its region’s broadcasters, telecoms operators, enterprise and government customers, Thaicom has been offering integrated satellite communications since 1991, boasting a portfolio of satellite communications described as being designed to help customers grow their markets in the digital era. In 2022, its board of directors approved the creation of Space Tech Innovation Company to invest in the satellites for the key orbital slot. The project has a number of aims: collect licence fees for orbital slots at 119.5 degrees East, 120 degrees East and 78.5 degrees East of THB797m; and the construction of three satellites at 119.5 degrees East.

Under the terms of the partnership, Eutelsat will expand its service over the continent, offering a commitment to lease and operate the service for half of the capacity on the new SDS satellite during its lifetime. 

The state-of-the art geostationary SDS will be procured by STI and will be one of a new generation of satellites offering instant in-orbit adjustment and seamless reconfiguration, optimising the use of in-orbit resources to the benefit of both the operator and the customer. It is due to be delivered in 2027.

Through this satellite, Eutelsat claimed it would be able to expand its in-orbit assets by some 50Gbps of incremental capacity over Asia to address surging demand for connectivity in the region. The SDS’s performance, combined with high levels of flexibility in terms of coverage, bandwidth allocation and power levels, is said to be able to assure no less than “unparalleled” quality of service to Eutelsat’s customers in the Asian region. It will be fully compatible with Eutelsat and OneWeb’s GEO/LEO multi-orbit approach. 

“This strategic partnership with Thaicom to leverage the 119.5° East position, perfectly located to address the entire Asian region, represents a great opportunity for Eutelsat as well as an innovative investment approach Eutelsat Communications,” said chief executive officer commented Eva Berneke. “We are confident in Thaicom’s experience as a leading satellite operator in Asia, with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, and its expertise in the Asia-Pacific market. This new-generation satellite, fully compatible with our future LEO-GEO offer, will enable Eutelsat to address the dynamic growth in connectivity demand in the region.”

Thaicom CEO Patompob (Nile) Suwansiri added: “I am delighted that we have secured a long-term partnership with Eutelsat, one of the largest global satellite operators in the world. This partnership is strategic for our new satellite project at the orbital slot of 119.5 degrees East as it not only provides a long-term and secure utilisation of 50% of our new satellite, but more importantly, it will create synergies between the two organisations to capture new growth opportunities in the future. This is an important milestone for Thaicom as we continue our journey to be a leading space tech company in the region.”

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