UAE-based satellite operator, Yahsat, owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), and Hughes Network Systems (Hughes), a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (EchoStar) have completed a joint venture arrangement to provide greater access to commercial Ka-band satellite broadband services across Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The joint venture was officially announced in September 2018, during the World Satellite Business Week Conference held in Paris and was at the time subject to regulatory and other approvals, which have now been obtained.
A ceremony took place at Mubadala’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Group Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of Mubadala); Charlie Ergen, Chairman of Hughes and EchoStar; along with Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat and Ramesh Ramaswamy, Senior VP and GM of Hughes’ International Division.
Through the collaboration, Yahsat will combine its position and knowledge as a major satellite broadband solutions provider within its current markets with Hughes’ expertise as the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services. Together, the two companies will continue to provide unserved and underserved communities with reliable, high-speed Internet services via Yahsat’s Al Yah 2 and Al Yah 3 Ka-band satellites, while utilising the capabilities of the Hughes systems, designed and optimised for large-scale high-throughput satellites. The newly formed JV company will go to market as “YahClick (powered by Hughes)” and will be operational with immediate effect.
While the company’s board of directors consists of three members from Yahsat and two members from Hughes, Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Yahsat will serve as the chairman of the board and Pradman Kaul, President and CEO of Hughes will serve as a board director.
“In finalisation of this joint venture with Hughes, we’re building upon the digital landscape of our target regions to empower and enable communities, governments and businesses in unserved and underserved communities to realise economic and social benefit from Yahsat’s high-performance satellite broadband services,” commented Masood M. Sharif Mahmood.
“This is an important step in unlocking not only our potential, but the potential of those we serve by combining our respective leadership and global experience.”
Pradman Kaul added: “The commencement of the joint venture furthers Hughes commitment to bridging the global digital divide, bringing unserved and underserved communities everywhere the benefits of the connected experience. We are pleased to join with longtime partner Yahsat in serving these important and growing markets.”
The JV will provide “direct-to-premise services” to homes and small to medium-sized enterprises, and to community centres and schools that are served under local government programs across the focus regions. The agreement also offers “community hotspot” solutions to make satellite-enabled broadband more accessible to many more users across Yahsat’s global footprint, which today covers more than 1 billion people. Further, the agreement enhances the trend within the Mobile Network Operator community to benefit from the efficiencies provided by Ka-band-based backhaul and carrier solutions.