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SES and Eutelsat bet big on S-band

2 November 2006

SES Global and Eutelsat Communications have announced a joint investment in what’s claimed to be the first European satellite infrastructure for broadcasting video, radio and data to mobile devices and vehicle receivers. The 50/50 joint venture company will operate and commercialise the S-band payload on W2A, writes Fergal Ringrose.

The company will be set up by SES ASTRA and Eutelsat following approval from relevant regulatory agencies. The S-band space segment represents an investment of approximately Euro 130 million.

The S-band (2.0 and 2.2 GHz), which represents a new frequency band for both SES and Eutelsat, provides a set of frequencies optimised for supporting a wireless distribution network for delivering video and other services to mobile devices, including phones, PDAs, laptops and vehicle receivers.

Mobile video services represent a large and currently undeveloped market in Europe, emerging today through existing terrestrial solutions. The development of mobile video services through a satellite-based hybrid network will provide content providers and operators with alternative or complementary solutions to terrestrial-based networks and will bring the benefit of universal coverage that satellites can provide.

Eutelsat has commissioned the W2A satellite from Alcatel Alenia Space for launch on Sea Launch in the beginning of 2009. W2A will be operated at 10 degrees East, with a state-of-the art S-band payload that will be an essential building-block for a hybrid infrastructure over Europe, combining satellite and terrestrial networks, to provide both universal coverage and indoor penetration for mobile video services. The S-band payload has also been optimised for a broad range of business applications such as security surveillance and other commercial data services including two-way communications.

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