For the past seven years, Latin America has enjoyed a boom in demand for satellite connectivity. Now SES, the world’s second largest satellite operator, predicts a similar explosion in demand will happen in Africa in the next few years.
Scott Sprague, senior vice president for global sales at Luxembourg-headquartered SES, says investment in fibre-optic telecommunications infrastructure will propel rather than impede demand for satellite services.
He says the experience in Latin America was that when that continent was encircled with submarine fibre, there was a boom in demand for satellite infrastructure.
“SES is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in satellite infrastructure to support the African market,” Sprague says. “Africa is one of the most important markets for us worldwide. The continent will follow in the footsteps of Latin America in growth and in the way the market evolves.”
SES has 12 satellites under construction, some of which are destined to serve Africa.
Sprague warns, however, that there could be an oversupply of satellite capacity serving the continent soon, especially with regional operators getting involved alongside the big international players.
Meanwhile, SES has announced it has signed an agreement with YellowSat, a French start-up company, that wants to provide Internet connectivity to companies, governments and institutions in Africa.
YellowSat, which has signed its first customer in Congo-Brazzaville, will use the NSS-703, a satellite launched in 1994 by Intelsat and later bought by SES, to provide services. SES has repositioned NSS-703 and put it on an inclined orbit meant to extend its useful life. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral