The UAE’s Yahsat is creating a joint venture with U.S. company Hughes Network Systems to provide commercial Ka-band satellite broadband services across Africa, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.
Hughes will purchase a minority interest in the venture.
The new venture will provide unserved and underserved communities with reliable, high-speed Internet services operating over Yahsat’s Al Yah-2 and Al Yah-3 Ka-band satellites, and leveraging the capabilities of the Hughes JUPITER™ System, designed and optimized for large scale High-Throughput Satellites (HTS). Hughes will also supply its Operating and Business Support System (OSS/BSS) solutions for comprehensive network operations and management.
Initially, the venture will focus on “direct-to-premise services” to homes and small-to-medium-sized enterprises, and to community centers and schools served under local government programs in these regions. There will also be an increased focus on “community hotspot” solutions to make satellite-enabled broadband more accessible to many more users across the Al Yah-2 and Al Yah-3 footprint, which currently covers more than one billion people.
In addition, the venture also aims to capitalize on the accelerating transition towards Ka-band based backhaul and carrier solutions from mobile network operators.
“The partnership with Hughes plays a significant role in Yahsat’s growth story and serves as an important step in achieving our vision to providing global satellite broadband services to individuals, communities, governments and businesses in unserved and underserved communities,” said Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, chief executive officer of Yahsat. “ Yahsat’s remarkable track record and experience in operating YahClick, combined with Hughes technology leadership and experience, are a winning proposition to unlock the mass market potential of satellite broadband services across the region.”
“I am very pleased to see our longstanding partnership with Hughes as a supplier over the years now advance to this strategic and very important joint venture for Yahsat,” Mahmood added.
“Yahsat has been a valued customer for many years, incorporating our JUPITER System and operating expertise into their services. This next step in our relationship is a natural evolution that builds on our shared commitment to connecting the unconnected and reflects our strategy to partner with leading providers around the world,” said . Pradman Kaul, president of Hughes. “Our investment in this venture will expand our presence in Africa, the Middle East and southwest Asia markets, where broadband demand is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.”
Completion of the transaction is expected to occur later this year.