SES and ictQatar Ink Cooperative Agreement

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The government of Qatar on June 9 signed a cooperative agreement with satellite fleet operator SES of Luxembourg under which SES may provide satellite capacity for the joint development of satellite orbital slots, SES and Qatar’s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQatar) announced.

The agreement comes a year after ictQatar and SES’s biggest European competitor — Eutelsat of Paris — signed an agreement calling for joint investment into a $300 million satellite program called Eurobird 2A. That satellite, carrying a Ku- and Ka-band payload, is scheduled for launch in 2013 into Eutelsat’s 25.5 degrees east orbital slot but is facing frequency-coordination issues with Iran.

SES spokesman Yves Feltes said June 9 that the SES-ictQatar memorandum of understanding does not yet include any specific investment in satellite hardware. Feltes said the agreement should be seen in the context of Qatar’s becoming a significant regional media center with expansion of the Qatar-backed Al Jazeera television network.