NewSat Ltd. of Australia confirmed its deal with a South Asian satellite reseller for the acquisition of US$30.29 million worth of satellite transmission capacity. The deal has reportedly increased the pre-launch contracts for Jabiru to $601 million value. The Ka-band service will be aimed at the Afghanistan market.
According to NewSat, payment will be in full, likely to be settled by the end of this June. Lockheed Martin of the US is in-charge of building the satellite, which is now in its sixth month of production. NewSat expects to launch Jabiru in 2014 via Arianespace. “Export credit debt funding continues to progress extremely well,” said Adrian Ballintine, chief executive officer of NewSat.
For commercial and competitive reasons, the name of the satellite reseller is withheld. Ballintine said that Afghanistan is a precious communications market. Although US-Middle East wars have subsided over the past years, the military presence of the US in the region is likely to continue. Moreover, Afghanistan has a mobile penetration rate of 36% as of 2009, and the mobile market has an estimated 10 million subscribers.
The company has been marketing its Ka-band satellite as a high-thoroughput solution for broadband and backhaul needs of emerging and high-growth markets like the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. More competition in the Afghan telecommunications sector means greater potential for satellite backhaul and satellite internet services. Its multi-beam capability allows the geostationary satellite to cover larger areas.
Last April,NewSat closed a three-year $13 million satellite transmission deal with US communications carrier serving the Middle East. And two months before, NewSat finalised one of its biggest pre-launch deals with Asia’s leading satellite communications carrier. The satellite capacity contract with MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd. secured at least US$180 million worth of Jabiru satellite capacity.
The Australian independent satellite provider also expanded the frequency allocations for its eight new and existing geostationary slots, reportedly giving Jabiru one of the best positions to serve high-growth mobile backhaul and satellite markets in the ME.