PARIS — Satellite fleet operator Telenor Satellite Broadcasting on May 8 reported a 4.5 percent increase in revenue and a 10 percent jump in gross profit for the three months ending March 31 following late payments from customers that had forced the company to set aside provisions for bad debt.
Oslo, Norway-based Telenor was able to reverse the bad-debt provisions and post an EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, of 178 million Norwegian kroner ($31 million) on revenue of 250 million kroner.
Telenor’s 1 degree west satellite slot provides television broadcasting to Norway and the rest of the Nordic region. In the past few years the company has focused on Central and Eastern Europe, occasionally winning business by offering lower-cost bandwidth than Europe’s two biggest fleet operators, SES of Luxembourg and Eutelsat of Paris.
In addition to 1 degree west, Telenor has leased its aging Thor 2 satellite to SES, which now operating the satellite from 23.5 degrees east. The lease was a contributor to the increased revenue compared to the same period a year ago, as was a growth in data communications.
Telenor operates the Thor 5 and Thor 6 satellites from its 1 degree west slot, where it also commercializes capacity aboard the Intelsat 10-02 satellite as part of a long-term agreement with Intelsat of Washington and Luxembourg.
Telenor’s Thor 7 satellite is under construction by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., and scheduled for launch in late 2013 aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket. Thor 7 will carry a Ka-band payload with which Telenor will attempt to capture, in the Nordic region, the growing market for broadband links to oil rigs and maritime vessels.
Telenor said it has already booked leases from large maritime communications providers MTN and Marlink. Maritime communications providers Elektrikom and SatPoint have also signed leases of Thor capacity from 1 degree west.
In response to Space News inquiries, Telenor on May 9 said all new Ku-band contracts for Thor capacity “provide an option to migrate services from Ku-band to Ka-band following the successful launch of Thor 7. However, exact terms are yet to be negotiated.”
In Western Europe, Telenor will be competing with London-based Inmarsat, which is also developing a Ka-band satellite network to provide maritime broadband.