Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thaicom gets go-ahead to launch $160m satellite in 2013

Thailand’s Information and Communication Technology Ministry (ICT) has given Thaicom Pcl the go-ahead to launch a new, $160 million satellite in the next two years to expand capacity and serve rising broadcasting demand in Asia. Thaicom, which had been seeking permission from the ICT ministry for two years, will be the sole investor for the new satellite, Jirawan Boonperm, permanent secretary at the ministry, told reporters today. The ICT ministry would not extend the existing concession with the company when it expired in 2021, Jirawan said.

The new broadcast satellite, Thaicom 6, would be launched into orbit in the second quarter of 2013 and would have a minimum working life of 15 years, with 26 transponders to transmit satellite signals, it said in a statement to the stock exchange. The aim is “to increase the company’s revenue in the future and to meet increased demand for satellite service in the future as the trend of demand for Ku-band and C-Band is rising in Southeast Asia, East Asia and South Asia”, it said.

Thaicom 6 would be a medium-size satellite, with capacity close to Thaicom 5, and the company expected it to break even before the eighth year after launch, Thaicom Chief Executive Arak Arak Chonlatanon told reporters. Thaicom 6 will also replace existing satellites that have reached the end of their life and the company will use long-term loan and its cash flow to finance the project.

Thaicom now operates two satellite - broadband IPSTAR and Thaicom 5, which is almost running at full capacity. Analysts said the approval was good news for the company and should boost Thaicom’s traditional satellite business.

Earlier on Monday, Thaicom signed an agreeement with a subsidiary of Malaysia’s MEASAT Global Bhd to provide broadband Internet services via IPSTAR in Malaysia and expected to book revenue from the third quarter.

(Source: Reuters via Radio Netherlands Media Network Weblog)

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