Revised Colombian Satellite Solicitation Expected in Early December

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Colombia’s Ministry of Technology Innovation and Communications is expected to decide in early December how to proceed with a solicitation for its SatCol telecommunications satellite after receiving only one bid, from Russia’s Intersputnik, in response to extensive consultations and interviews with companies including satellite fleet operators Telesat and SES World Skies.

The ministry had intended to select a winning bid in December to have the SatCol satellite in orbit in 2012.

Industry officials said the Colombian government’s proposal transferred too many SatCol costs and risks to the satellite operator, with the Colombian government insisting on transponder-lease prices that would make it difficult for the operator to make a profit.

One prospective bidder said the contract as proposed would result in “tens of millions of dollars in losses” over the 15-year life of the satellite.

Colombian officials have proposed that the winning bidder build, launch and operate SatCol but reserve a substantial amount of Ku-band capacity for Colombian use. Colombian authorities also said they may want the satellite to carry a Ka-band payload.