PARIS — Satellite fleet operators Eutelsat of Paris and Spacecom of Israel, which regularly battle each other in the rough African bandwidth-lease market, have agreed to join forces through a cross-commercialization effort at 16 degrees and 17 degrees east longitude, the two companies announced Nov. 19.
Under the agreement, the Eutelsat 16A and Spacecom Amos-5 satellites will offer television customers more than 100 free-to-air TV channels, now reaching some 30 million households in two dozen nations in Central and West Africa, mainly French-speaking, and Madagascar.
“By creating a joint effort that aggregates content and improves the commercial reach of advertisers, we are optimizing the broadcast environment,” said Amir Carmeli, Spacecom’s regional vice president for West Africa and France.
Rodney Benn, Eutelsat’s vice president for Africa, said the agreement “shows how neighboring operators can combine their strengths to offer Africa’s broadcast the full benefits of their expertise.”
Details on the revenue-sharing arrangement were not disclosed.
The African market for satellite operators has grown more difficult as fiber lines reached the African coastline and then as more satellite operators stationed satellites over Africa. To establish a foothold, some have cut prices substantially, satellite industry officials have said.
Spacecom in the past year has been on the sales block, with several strategic investors, notably Hispasat of Spain, expressing interest in purchasing the company pending an agreement with the Israeli government, a big Spacecom customer.