Broader telecoms coverage over Africa

16th May 2014

Communications satellite operator Arab Satellite Communications Organisation (Arabsat), a platinum sponsor at SatCom Africa 2014, has released a request for proposals for the procurement of four new satellites to be named HS3, HS4, ARB6E and ARB6A, set to launch in 2016 and 2017.

The new satellites will be positioned at three different orbital locations with vast coverage over the African, the Middle East, Asian and European markets and high-power direct-to-home payload in Ku-band and Ka-spot beam radio frequency capacities, says Arabsat CEO Khalid Balkhyour.

The two new HS3 and HS4 satellites will be favourable to the replacement of the Greek/Cypriot Hellas-Sat-2 satellite at the 39° east orbital slot, with additional capacities in Ku- and Ka-bands payload, owing to its increased flexibility.

Further, HS4 will provide Arabsat with prime Ku-band capacity over Europe and the Mediterranean, which will complement the existing in-orbit capacity. The current Hellas-Sat 2 carries over 100 television channels, and Internet Protocol-based services across South Africa, Eastern Europe and part of the Middle East.
ARB6E and ARB6A will have payload capac-ities in Ku- and Ka-bands. It will be dedicated to support the growth of Arabsats’ business and provide in-orbit backup capacity to its customers and to serving the increase in the market’s demand for satellite capacities and services over the Middle East, Africa and Asia, says Balkhyour.

Proposals were due no later than May 1, and Arabsat will manage these tender and other pertinent contracts, which will be awarded through a full and open competition.

Further, satellite operator Central European Telecom Services (CETel) Group is working with Arabsat to expand the existing solution portfolio by providing high-quality solutions on Arabsat-5C in Extended C-Band.
Jointly Arabsat and CETel will deploy an additional 9.3 m antenna at the CETel teleport facilities near Cologne/Bonn, in Germany, pointed towards Arabsat 5C at 20° east. The infrastructure expansion will enable CETel to provide individual solutions with high demands for pricing, reliability and bandwidth.

Extended C-Band frequency enables cost-effective solutions while maintaining the high quality Arabsat and CETel are recognised for, especially for networks and trunking con-nections requiring high amounts of bandwidth. For example, CETel designs tailored end-to-end solutions on Arabsat 5C in Extended C-Band frequencies.
The announced cooperation for new services is part of Arabsat’s and CETel’s long-standing strategic partnership. Their shared goal is to provide high-quality solutions for satellite-based communications worldwide.
“The increasing demand for satellite capacity and Internet connectivity with high bandwidths, not only in the Middle East but also in Africa, clearly shows the need for cost-effective communications solutions. CETel is able to provide such solutions worldwide and the new services on Arabsat 5C in Extended C-Band fit perfectly for our customers,” says CETel MD Martin Terlunen.
Further, in February, investment company Morgan for Information & Communications Technology (MICT) signed a contract for which Arabsat will provide Morgan with satellite capacities on Arabsat-5C at the orbital position 20° east, with full coverage to the African continent, in addition to Arabsat’s usual coverage to the Middle East and large parts of Asia and Europe.

MICT CEO Kazem Zain says: "The import-ance of this agreement is not only in its value and financial returns, but also in its future prospects despite the difficulties and challenges facing the region.”

The implementation of this contract starts with building and operating two ground stations in Africa this year to be expanded in the coming years to accommodate the growing needs of the region, he concludes.