Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Internet capable satellites in heavy demand

Le Gall: IP satellites in heavy demand

SINGAPORE : Despite a sluggish Asian economic outlook, regional growth prospects in the satellite market remain healthy, says Arianespace.

The world's leading commercial space launch provider said the company was still seeing witnessed a strong demand for satellites, especially in Southeast Asia, as evidenced by the prospective number of contracts and potential projects.

Jean Yves Le Gall, chairman and CEO, said Arianespace has yet to see any sign of impact following record-high inflation in Asian countries from surging oil and food prices.

But he added, ''I don't mean the region's economic downturn has nothing to do with the satellite industry. I am just confirming that Southeast Asia is still dynamic in terms of new number of satellite projects, particularly from Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.''

Mr Le Gall said the telecommunications industry had already become a digital paradigm. This caused high demand for new telecom devices and a massive increase in space for satellites. The trend for satellites was moving into smaller broadcasting areas, he added.

Arianespace expects global revenue of one billion euros this year, 30% of which would come from Asia, he said.

The region is expected to grow by 15% this year, driven by rising demand in many countries for broadcasting and internet protocol (IP) satellites.

''Thailand is the most important market for Arianespace in Southeast Asia,'' he said.

Arianespace has launched 259 payloads for 70 countries, representing 50% of all operational commercial satellites. Asia Pacific is a core market for Arianespace, with 57 launch orders from 17 operators in eight countries over the past 22 years.

Thaicom Plc (formerly Shin Satellite), a unit of Shin Corp, was the company's first customer in Southeast Asia.

Mr Le Gall expressed no concern about competition from Chinese firms, saying most satellites use US-made components which are not allowed for Chinese rocket launches.

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