Broadband/Connectivity/Telcos News

Yahsat to enter mobility and IoT segments for higher growth

The operator is anticipating greater demand for satellite broadband services on the back of higher uptake in IoT-serviced industries in the region.
Masood Sharif Mahmood CEO of Yahsat.

UAE-based satellite operator Yahsat plans to enter the mobility and Internet of Things segments (IoT) as well as possibly compete with telecoms service providers for higher growth, The National reported.

“Everything is sensored and metered and [whether consumers] choose telecoms service providers or satellite is not a big challenge. What we’re seeing is that, as the industry starts providing live solutions on the sensors – mobile solutions – then the adoption of this will be on a higher sort of scale,” CEO Masood Sharif Mahmood was quoted as saying to The National at the company’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

According to the report, Mahmood was referring to live asset tracking through GPS, which is increasingly becoming merged with business analytics and artificial intelligence, particularly when it comes to cross-country, regional mobility, which can be better serviced by satellite over telecoms service providers.

According to US-based International Data Corporation, the IoT market in the Middle East and Africa is set to grow 15 percent in 2018 to reach USD6.99 bn in 2018 and USD12.62bn by 2021. “The company’s ongoing acquisition of a majority stake in Thuraya was also considered as part of efforts to grow its mobility segment,” Mahmood was quoted.

Yahsat which specialises in coverage of unserved, digitally-remote areas, eventually aims to provide connectivity to already served segments in cities as well.

Yahsat’s third satellite Al Yah 3 which was launched in January is expecting to increase the operator’s footprint in another nineteen countries, including newer markets in Latin America and Brazil. The two other satellites -Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2- provide government solutions, satellite TV and satellite broadband across the Middle East, Africa, central and south-west Asia, with its coverage penetrating remote access areas.

YahClick, the operator’s satellite broadband service, has grown to cover around 50,000 devices. While this satellite broadband connectivity is available through retailers in the markets covered by Yahsat, often remote localities, it is also the third licensed operator for internet services in the UAE. While YahClick provides connectivity to the oil and gas industry as well as services requiring remote connectivity in the Emirates, Mahmood said it would be a while before it becomes competitive with telecoms service providers, according to the report.

“When we mix our old fleet and the new fleet our satellite broadband will cover 60 percent of the populations of Africa and 95 percent of the population of Brazil,” added Mahmood.