As a member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU, the United Nations specialized telecommunications agency), Hungary has met all the legal conditions and had all the international agreements (geostationary orbit, required frequencies) necessary to serve the country’s communications and telecommunications needs with its own satellite since the 1990s. Back in 2004, the Hungarian government leased the track section to a foreign private company. The contract expires in 2024, after which Hungary will once again have the opportunity to control its own orbital position and frequency.
To take advantage of this opportunity, CarpathiaSat CPLC. will be established, which, based on international examples, will set up a fixed orbit and operate Hungary’s first communications and telecommunications satellite in close cooperation with the state and private sector. In addition, the company will have the right to operate the geostationary orbital section for the next twenty years.
“In order to meet the accelerated digitalisation and increased telecommunications needs, global efforts are aimed at the development of countries’ satellite capabilities. As part of the critical infrastructure, it is also important for Hungary’s sovereignty to be at the forefront in this area as well”, said Dr Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner for Space, in connection with today’s announcement.
She also pointed out that “in 2018, the management of Hungarian space activities was transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. As the Ministerial Commissioner responsible for supervising this field, I consider it a priority to strengthen and make the domestic space sector increasingly competitive in the field of services, industry and research and development. I am pleased that Hungary has embarked on a development path along which such a serious space investment and service can begin”.
Following the registration of CarpathiaSat CPLC., 4iG PLC. will have a 51% majority controlling influence in the company. In addition to Hungary, 4iG’s strategic goal is to become the leading IT and info-communications company in the central and eastern European region and to establish dominant positions in the telecommunications sector. The launch of the first Hungarian satellite, which is also suitable for broadcasting, Internet and telephone services, data transmission and other research tasks, and its long-term operation fit well into the company’s growth strategy.
“This year marks another important milestone in the 25-year history of 4iG. The establishment of the joint venture and the development and operation of the first Hungarian commercial satellite is a pioneering enterprise that provides significant development potential and additional business opportunities for our company. In addition to informatics and info-communications, we can also acquire significant expertise and skills in technology industries such as telecommunications or the space industry. In addition to the founding companies, our goal is to establish strategic collaborations with domestic and international companies with significant experience in the industry, and we also count on the collaboration of Hungarian universities and researchers in the program”, emphasised Gellért Jászai, President and CEO of 4iG PLC., in connection with the announcement.
Antenna Hungária (AH), which has a 44% stake in CharpathiaSat CPLC., is a key player in the Hungarian telecommunications sector. Its main areas of activity are national terrestrial television and radio broadcasting, as well as wireless business telecommunications. As one of the most successful domestically owned IT companies, AH has been able to show continuous growth in recent years, building into its OTT (Over-the-Top) and IoT (Internet of Things) industries as well as establishing its own networks, solutions and services.
“I consider the establishment of the company in charge of satellite development to be a very important milestone in the process of the renewal of Antenna Hungária, which started at the end of 2018. Our basic goal is to build a modern and market-based state-owned company that, in addition to providing complex business ICT solutions, can also play a major role in innovation and the development of new technical solutions. By participating in the company, we want to contribute to the achievement of the goal set by the government, and we intend to be able to step up in the field of development as well. The planned developments may open new perspectives for our services currently provided with satellite technology”, emphasized Zsolt Sárecz, President and CEO of Antenna Hungária CPLC.
The Antenna Hungária group of companies provides a wide range of high-quality satellite data transmission services, which are optimized according to the special applications and business needs of its partners. Based on its own infrastructure, it builds, monitors and operates telecommunications networks according to the needs of professional users, using satellite technology called VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal).
Since 2014, AH has also provided satellite uplink and content distribution services. The company provides its satellite services with its own infrastructure and leases resources from a number of international service providers (AMOS, Eutelsat, Intelsat) to ensure satellite capacity, so the planned development could result in significant progress for AH in the economic and security conditions of its services.
The development and launch of the satellite will require serious legal preparations and international cooperation with partner organisations such as the European Space Agency (ESA) or the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Therefore, New Space Industries CPLC., which has been working on the preparation of the project for two years, is also among the founders of the project company. Dr István Sárhegyi, the company’s founder and chairman of the board, said that “New Space Industries CPLC. participates as a professional investor in Hungary’s largest space industry project. Our company supports the mission of CarpathiaSat CPLC. with its domestic and international relations and know-how.”
In line with international space and satellite operator trends, the joint venture has created a corporate structure in which the state and the private sector can work together to develop Hungary’s independent space capabilities”.
This article was first published here.