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Yahsat acquires minority stake in eSAT Global

Thuraya, Yahsat’s mobility business, has also signed a complementary commercial agreement to develop a next-generation IoT platform with eSAT Global.

Yahsat has announced a minority investment in eSAT Global Inc, an Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions provider that will bring a new disruptive, low-cost, low-latency, direct-to-satellite IoT service to the market.

The overall IoT market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 22% over the next five years to $525bn and the satellite IoT business is forecasted to generate a cumulative revenue of $6bn over the same period. The investment in eSAT represents an opportunity to participate in a fast-growing sector that is still significantly under-penetrated, and is closely aligned with Yahsat’s strategy of prioritising growth sectors.

In addition to Yahsat’s investment in eSAT, Thuraya, its mobility business, has signed a commercial agreement with eSAT, which will provide Thuraya with secure and long-term access to an end-to-end Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) IoT system and portfolio. The system will work over Thuraya’s Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) GEO assets and provide customers with IoT portfolio access on a global scale, by leveraging Yahsat’s group’s presence in over 150 countries. The partnership with eSAT will enable Thuraya’s service partners to address critical IoT requirements in key segments, including smart agriculture, environmental monitoring, digital maritime and cold-chain tracking. Thuraya, in collaboration with eSAT, is planning to launch the IoT system and portfolio and commence commercial activities by Q4 2023.

Designed specifically for IoT and low data rate applications, the new platform will leverage Thuraya’s existing (T2 & T3) and future MSS GEO satellites, including Thuraya 4-NGS, Yahsat’s forthcoming next-generation L-band satellite. The service requires no terrestrial repeater infrastructure or backhaul, while providing seamless coverage across the globe. Devices equipped with the new eSAT communication module will be able to communicate with satellites using very low transmit power anywhere within Thuraya’s footprint.

Besides its enhanced versatility and industry-leading performance, the new IoT platform offers multiple advantages to solutions providers and integrators to manufacture and customise new and existing products and solutions with connectivity and high mobility. The new platform has been designed with 5G implementation considerations to support seamless integration and interoperability within terrestrial IoT ecosystems. It provides solutions that Mobile Network Operators (MNO) cannot provide terrestrially, has ubiquitous coverage, and will deliver always-on reliable solutions for critical IoT applications.

The IoT platform will also integrate capabilities to support low-cost texting services which will enable constant connectivity for smartphone users, particularly in emergencies. This builds off eSAT’s Remote Text Service (eRTS) which was announced in October 2021.

Commenting on the deal, Ali Al Hashemi, Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat Group, said: “Yahsat’s investment in eSAT, combined with Thuraya’s commercial agreement, is aligned with our belief in the outsized impact of the IoT sector for the satellite and space industry today and in the years to come. Through this partnership, we will be able to serve our customers even more effectively by offering smart, reliable, and customisable solutions that will unlock new and exciting opportunities across a range of sectors. We look forward to working closely with eSAT who brings a track record of launching successful communication products and services to market. We are confident that together we will create a powerful offering to our customers and partners.”

Rick Somerton, CEO and President of eSAT Global, added: “We have designed our systems to benefit from the intrinsic advantages that L-band GEOs have over both LEOs and other GEOs. It is very exciting for us to have Yahsat, through their investment, endorsing our belief that their GEOs will deliver low-cost, low-power, and low-latency IoT connectivity. Our partnership has been a long time in the making, going back several years when we demonstrated the suitability of Thuraya’s satellites for IoT. We appreciate the efforts of both teams of professionals in getting us to this exciting milestone. We look forward to building on our partnership with Yahsat to deliver LPWAN connectivity to Yahsat’s existing customers and many more new users for whom satellite-enabled connectivity has not previously been an option.”