Hispasat-Intelsat Venture will Use Amazonas 1 for World Cup Coverage

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Updated May 15 at 9:38 a.m. EDT

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Satellite fleet operators Hispasat and Intelsat have formed a joint venture to operate Hispasat’s Amazonas 1 satellite at 55.5 degrees west longitude for two years to capture the revenue potential of the FIFA World Cup soccer championship being held in Brazil starting in June, Hispasat announced May 13.

Amazonas 1, launched in 2004, has a fuel-supply anomaly that is expected to reduce its operational life to about 10 years, instead of the planned 15 years, according to previous estimates. But the satellite apparently is expected to operate long enough to provide television services for the World Cup and beyond.

Amazonas 1 was initially operated at 61 degrees west for Madrid-based Hispasat’s Latin American business. It was moved to 36 degrees west in early 2013 when Amazonas 3 arrived to take over at the 61 degrees position.

Hispasat began moving Amazonas 1 from its 36 degrees slot in February; the satellite arrived at 55.5 degrees east in late March.

The satellite has 36 Ku- and 27 C-band transponders. 

“Hispasat and Intelsat will cooperate at the orbital position, sharing orbital resources to expand services available for media and other customers in the region,” Hispasat said in a statement.

Intelsat Chief Commercial Officer Stephen Spengler said in a statement that the two companies are weighing “future opportunities in the region that will further strengthen our combined presence.”

Hispasat Chief Executive Carlos Espinos said his company is looking to grow through alliances with third parties. “This deal also enables Hispasat to fully exploit the capability and service life of Amazonas 1 and to operate at a new orbital position,” Espinos said in a statement.

Intelsat Investor Relations Vice President Dianne J. VanBeber said the agreement with Hispasat is not a joint venture in the legal sense, but an agreement between the two companies to coordinate use of their satellites at the slot.

In addition, VanBeber said, Intelsat and Hispasat are studying ways to combine their forces for future development of the Latin American market.

“Both companies have rights at 55.5 degrees east, although Intelsat has priority rights,” VanBeber said May 14. “We are fully coordinating with Hispasat to allow the satellites to coexist at this location.”

Intelsat’s aging Galaxy 11 is stationed at 55.5 degrees east, as is the company’s IS-805. The IS-34 satellite scheduled for launch in late 2015 will also be located there.


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