Intersputnik Likely To Order Its Own Satellite This Year

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PARIS — Satellite bandwidth provider Intersputnik reported a nearly 14 percent increase in revenue in 2011 and said it likely will order its own satellite this year to complement the capacity it leases on 15 other spacecraft.

The board of directors of Moscow-based Intersputnik, which recently admitted Somalia as its 26th member, said revenue in 2011 surpassed company goals and reached $81.4 million, up 13.7 percent over 2011, which was a 23 percent increase over 2009. Intersputnik had forecast a 10 percent increase in revenue for 2011.

Intersputnik leases capacity, sometimes in large chunks, aboard satellites owned by a half-dozen commercial fleet operators including SES and Intelsat of Luxembourg, Eutelsat of Paris and Russia’s two domestic satellite operators, Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) and Gazprom Space Systems.

Intersputnik has struck a partnership with Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) of Hong Kong for capacity on ABS’s ABS-1 spacecraft operating at 75 degrees east longitude. Intersputnik also has secured exclusive rights to Russia and parts of the surrounding region on the ABS-2 satellite set for launch in 2013.

“This step will significantly strengthen the position of Intersputnik in the Russian market and will be the next step in becoming a real satellite operator,” Intersputnik Deputy Director-General Stefan Kollar said in an April 25 interview.

Intersputnik also has agreed with ABS on development of the 3 degrees west longitude orbital position, now occupied by the ABS-3 satellite, which is in an inclined orbit. The company also has cut a deal with Israeli satellite operator Spacecom for use of the Amos-5 satellite at 17 degrees west.

One of its biggest capacity leases is of 19 transponders aboard the Eutelsat W7 satellite, recently named Eutelsat 36B, at 36 degrees east.

Intersputnik currently leases and resells 1,700 megahertz of satellite bandwidth, equivalent to some 47 standard transponders.

For several years the company has weighed whether to move up the food chain to own its own capacity. Following a board meeting in Krakow, Poland, in mid-April, Intersputnik decided to order its own spacecraft for 16 degrees west.

Close on the heels of this will be a decision on whether to develop Intersputnik’s spectrum at 78 degrees east. In addition to its arrangement with ABS for 75 degrees east, Intersputnik leases capacity on the Express MD-1 satellite operated by RSCC at 80 degrees east.