Azerbaijan’s space ambitions, Satellite Evolution

Along with Africa and Latin America, Asia represents a hugely desirable region for satellite operators, service providers and manufacturers. A vibrant emerging market, with countries at different levels of development, the Asian demand for bandwidth is growing. And this demand varies from capacity for entertainment purposes such as video distribution and mobile multimedia, to basic telephony services to simply enabling people to connect to the outside world. There are exciting things happening on this continent. The CommunicAsia 2011 show held in Singapore in June was a true reflection of the need for satellite systems and services in Asia. Governments, corporations and individuals want to be connected. They want mobility, they need broadband, they need communications in emergency situations – they need satellite.

Satellite companies are committing themselves in their numbers to Asia. Investment in this region is big business. There are many new satellites being planned, developed, constructed and launched over the coming months and years. Increased prosperity and a great interest in what satellite can do for the Asian population is fuelling interest.

Regional players are asserting themselves and making the big decision to enter the space industry in order to give themselves independent satellite communications, without relying on foreign operators. In this issue, we have looked closely at Azerbaijan, an example of a country that has decided to ‘do it themselves’ and to design their own satellite to meet their country’s needs. Through a partnership with MEASAT, they are making their dream a reality, using the company’s orbital slot whilst giving them transponder space to use for Africa. These types of agreements make great sense for countries that are new to the space industry and wish to dip their toes in the satellite water. It represents a win-win situation for all involved. It is also hugely encouraging to see regional players emerging, creating increased competition and variety. Vietnam is another example of an Asian country that is in the process of developing their space industry.

Also in this issue, SEA focuses on Ka-band and the promise it holds. Newtec CEO, Serge Van Herck has provided us with his own insights into how the industry will move to Ka-band and how this will affect the value chain and what the longer-term impact of Ka-band will be. We are also pleased to present in this issue a Comtech EF Data whitepaper on the challenges and opportunities for 3G backhaul over satellite. How can technology help overcome the issues that can be problematic? These are all key issues for consideration in the Asia region.

So, Asia is well and truly engaged in the importance of satellite communications. So much so, that countries are now looking to play their own part in the industry and reap the socio-economic benefits that satellite brings. Through support and partnerships and dialogue, this will be an important, progressive and exciting period for Asia and for the satellite industry at large.

Helen Jameson