The MENA market for VSAT continues to grow, but at a slower pace than before, Teletimes Interview

Azercosmos Open Joint Stock Company is the only satellite operator in the Caucasus established on May 3rd 2010 and fully owned by the government of Azerbaijan. Having

launched the Azerspace-1, the first-ever satellite of Azerbaijan, on February 8th 2013, the company provides highly reliable, satellite-based communication services to enterprise and government customers for DTH, voice, video, data and mobility applications.

In 2014, Azercosmos signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Airbus Defence and Space to take over the rights to operate and commercialize the SPOT 7 high resolution (1.5m imagery products) optical Earth observation satellite. This agreement marked Azercosmos’ entry into the commercial business of Earth observation services, including Geo-Information services. Currently, we are marketing the SPOT 7 under the new name of Azersky.

In February 2015, Azercosmos have signed a strategic agreement with Intelsat at the 45 degrees East orbital position. We will closely collaborate on the design of the Azerspace-2 satellite and leverage our respective strengths and capabilities during the manufacturing and operational phases of development. By mid-2015, we will finalize bidding process to identify manufacturing company. Azerspace-2 is scheduled to be launched in 2017.

The market of VSAT networks for corporate and civil government communication continued

its growth in the MENA region, but at a slower rate than previous years. The slowdown is attributable to the political instability prevailing in the region, such as the Arab Spring and the aftermath of events in Egypt, Syria, Libya, and other MENA countries. Key vertical markets driving demand in the MENA region include governments, either rebuilding fallen

infrastructures or developing existing networks, as well as growing commercial markets including oil & gas and banking/finance. In addition, mobile penetration in MENA is currently

among the highest in the world. Asia has been a fast-growing market for corporate and government civil networks during the past few years. Such growth is a result of large number of service providers, strong connectivity needs, and the low cost of capacity. Although the demand for satellite services will be growing in Middle East, we believe in Asia market growth rate of demand will be higher due to low political risk, increasing needs in bandwidth for e-government, tele- applications and applications such as real-time video and surveillance, cloud networks, teleconferencing and e-learning. Azercosmos intends to support adoption of more bandwidth intensive applications to contribute in future growth of capacity demand.

The trunking market in MENA has experienced a clear slowdown in previous years. Such decrease can be explained by substitutes in terms of the arrival of submarine cables which are main influence on reducing of satellite connectivity. At the moment, Azercosmos cooperates with a number of service providers to deliver traffic trunking services.

Airlines industry has been facing quite aggressive competition during recent years mainly due to rapid growth of airlines in Middle East and increase in joint ventures. Such competition ends up with downturn in prices per flight, and as a result rises in number of international flights. The global trend towards higher mobile data usage makes mobile operators invest in high-speed data technology. In other words, nowadays people prefer airlines more to travel and need more data for the mobile applications. This gives opportunity to airlines to increase number of in-flight services, while mobile operator find additional source of income. Satellite operators and service providers also benefit from this trend. Azercosmos provides satellite capacity to various service providers which give there solutions to number of industries including airline. Azerspace-1, the first telecommunications satellite provides highly-reliable broadband and broadcast solutions to our customers in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Central Asia.In upcoming years, Azerspace-2 will offer enhanced capacity, coverage and service offerings to support the growing demands in the region for DTH, government and network services currently supported by Azerspace-1.

As already has been mentioned, contributors to demand of satellite connections in MENA are rebuilding infrastructure of existing networks, developing of energy industry, increasing need for “tele-” applications. The use of satellite communications in Europe is expected to remain limited and even decreasing. Teletimes Intenational is a useful resource where one can get useful news on telecommunications and Satellite industry. Its insightful content helps Azercosmos to follow trends of the Middle East, Asia and Africa regions.