Star One Growth Has Others Taking Notice

by





The near-term market potential for satellite services in Latin America has alternated between hot and cold in the past few years. It is back to hot now.

Telesat’s just-ordered Anik G1 satellite, to be put at 107.3 degrees west, is larger than originally forecast in part because the Canada-based operator wants to raise its profile in Latin America. Anik G1 will have 12 Ku-band transponders for the region.

SES’s large SES-6 satellite, scheduled for launch in 2013, will carry 48 Ku- and 43 C-band transponders, with Latin America as the main target for the satellite, to be operated at 40.5 degrees west.

Luxembourg-based SES is also joining with EchoStar of Englewood, Colo., to launch the QuetzSat-1 satellite into the 77 degrees west slot in 2011, and has struck a deal with the Andean Community of Nations to develop the 67 degrees west orbital position.

Luxembourg- and Washington-based Intelsat is also in the hunt, with the IS-16 satellite launched earlier this year for Mexican and Brazilian direct-broadcast television broadcasters.

The data these companies are looking at almost certainly include the results of Brazil’s Star One satellite operator, which reported 20 percent revenue growth in 2009 compared with 2008 when measured in Brazilian reals.

“This is not a one-year phenomenon, this is our new revenue level,” said Mauro Wajnberg, Star One’s marketing and products director. In an e-mail response to questions, Wajnberg said the company has seen “a fantastic market acceptance of our two new Ku-band payloads” on the Star One C1 and Star One C2 satellites launched in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

More than 16 million rooftop dishes are now pointed toward Star One’s principal direct-to-home orbital slot of 70 degrees west, according to Star One. The company’s mixed C- and Ku-band C3 satellite is scheduled for launch in 2012.