TAMPA, Fla. — Eutelsat said Aug. 7 it is partnering with a regional satellite operator in Thailand to order a high throughput geostationary telecoms spacecraft over Asia.

The French fleet operator’s Asia subsidiary has agreed to lease half the capacity on the satellite over its lifetime from Space Tech Innovation Limited, which is controlled by Thailand’s Thaicom and is procuring the spacecraft.

The companies plan for the satellite to be delivered in 2027 for a launch to 119.5 degrees East, where Eutelsat said it would give the French company around 50 gigabits per second (Gbps) in extra capacity over Asia. 

A software-defined payload on the satellite would enable the operators to adjust services in response to changing customer demands, the operators said in a news release that offered few other details.

Eutelsat CEO Eva Berneke said in a statement that the satellite would be compatible with its multi-orbit growth strategy, including the low Earth orbit (LEO) services it expects to gain after getting regulatory approval to buy OneWeb this summer.

Patompob Suwansiri, Thaicom’s CEO, added that the joint satellite also sets the operators up for expanding their partnership in the future to chase other growth opportunities.

Thaicom currently owns two satellites after recently being forced to surrender two others to the Thai government following the end of a 30-year concession period.

The Thai company’s expansion plans come as regional operators in Asia and elsewhere face increasing competition from OneWeb, SpaceX’s Starlink, and other sprawling LEO broadband networks in the pipeline.

Amid a gradual decline in its legacy satellite TV business, Eutelsat is also under pressure to find cost-effective ways to fuel its pivot into connectivity services as it works through a takeover deal valuing OneWeb at $3.4 billion.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...