SES, Eutelsat in JV to serve mobile broadcast markets

MUMBAI: Sateelite operators SES Global and Eutelsat have announced a joint investment in the first European satellite infrastructure for broadcasting video, radio and data to mobile devices and vehicle receivers.

In view of the innovative nature of this market SES and Eutelsat have agreed to join forces to form a new company, which will operate and commercialise the S-band payload on W2A. The company will be set up by SES Astra and Eutelsat following approval from relevant regulatory agencies. The S-band space segment represents an investment of
approximately 130 million euros.

The S-band (2.0 and 2.2 GHz), which represents a new frequency band for both SES and Eutelsat, provides a set of frequencies optimised for supporting a wireless distribution network for delivering video and other services to mobile devices, including phones, PDAs, laptops and vehicle receivers. Mobile video services represent a large and currently undeveloped market in Europe, emerging today through existing terrestrial solutions.

The development of mobile video services through a satellite-based hybrid network will provide content providers and operators with alternative or complementary solutions to terrestrial based networks and will bring the benefit of the universal coverage that satellites can provide.

Eutelsat has commissioned the W2A satellite from Alcatel Alenia Space for launch on Sea Launch in the beginning of 2009. W2A will be operated at 10 degrees East, with a state-of the art S-band payload which will be an essential building-block for a hybrid infrastructure over Europe, combining satellite and terrestrial networks, to provide both universal coverage and indoor penetration for mobile video services. The S-band payload has also been optimised for a broad range of business applications such as security surveillance and other commercial data services including two-way communications.

SES Global president and CEO Romain Bausch says, “This joint investment will allow for the development of new, innovative satellite delivered mobile broadcast services thereby enabling satellite to compete with as well as to complement terrestrial infrastructure solutions in the mobile television and radio distribution chain. Satellite provides a unique and highly efficient coverage and the joint investment will therefore increase choice and convenience for consumers, content providers and service providers.

"Mobile applications form an important element of our strategic development plan, and by joining forces with Eutelsat, this infrastructure investment offers an attractive business opportunity in line with our internal investment hurdle rates.”

Eutelsat chairman and CEO Giuliano Berretta says, “Digital content and the mobility afforded by new portable devices lie at the heart of the current dynamic in the communications landscape, bringing new revenue streams for electronics manufacturers, content and service providers, as well as new products for consumers.

"Through a resource, which is optimised in terms of bandwidth and universal coverage, satellite services using S-band frequencies can make a vital contribution to the overall success of the mobile broadcasting market while the design of the S-band payload is also fully suited for two-way communications. By adding this new payload to a platform using our traditional set of Ku-band and C-band frequencies it has also been possible to put in place an efficient and cost-effective solution for entering a new frequency band.”

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