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Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) is planning to build two satellites including one in 2010 and the second in 2011 allowing it to provide complete interconnectivity on C Band to Africa from the Middle East and Europe. A statement issued by the company’s account executive Ursula Mabope said that they have signed an agreement with Arianespace to launch the Yahsat 1A satellite in the second half of 2010.

Another agreement was also signed with International Launch Services (ILS) to launch the Yahsat 1B satellite in first half of 2011. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) based company showcased the new products during a two day SATCOM 2008 exhibition held recently at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

In demand

Yahsat is going to be the first to provide hybrid satellite services in the Middle East and Africa that has seen increasing demand for such services.

“A variety of factors are fuelling this demand, such as new regulation policies, the tremendous growth of media and satellite broadcasting, the ever-growing hunger for bandwidth, telecom expansion and new satellite driven internet services,” said the statement issued recently.

It said the company was developed out of the realisation that there is a growing need for satellite services to both the Middle East and Africa.

“Our company will offer full coverage to Africa using C band with the possibility of connectivity to Europe and the Middle East. We are planning to drive this through the provision of cost effective services to Africa,” said the company’s chief executive officer Jassem Mohamed Al Zaabi.

Tailor-made services

He said the company would provide organisations the opportunity to take advantage of flexibility and custom-designed satellite services to cover the entire African region which has seen considerable growth and demand for satellite communications services.

Potential customers include the governments and commercial clients that include banks and financial institutions, broadcasters and manufacturers. Others are mobile telecommunications networks, satellite service providers, Internet service providers and Non Governmental Organizations (NGO).

“Satellite communications also play a crucial role when unfortunate events such as natural disasters [occur]. Especially people living in remote and isolated areas are the most vulnerable and disaster-prone and these are the most difficult to reach in a disaster,” he said. He said satellite services also make it easier for NGOs to communicate with the affected area and the local authorities.

Incorporated in January 2007 and supported by a $1.7bn investment from parent company Mubadala, the strategic investment and development vehicle of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Yahsat will develop, procure, own and operate hybrid satellite systems based on market requirements and future applications.

The company is owned by Mubadala Development, an investment firm that is helping to diversify Abu Dhabi’s economy through capital intensive investments and by building businesses. Mubadala establishes new companies and acquires strategic holdings in existing companies, either in the UAE or abroad.

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