July 15, 2004
Andesat aims for 1,000 internet clients this year – Regional
Regional satellite services provider Andesat aims to end the year with 1,000 internet access clients, particularly government institutions and small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), Andesat chairman Luis Escobar told BNamericas.
Andesat launched internet access services two months ago and is still negotiating service sales teams with distributors in the Andean region and Central America. Escobar expects to have distribution teams throughout these two regions within three months. Andesat has signal landing rights by virtue of Andean governments’ shares in the company, but sales partners must also secure landing rights in their respective countries.
The company has internet access sales partners in Ecuador, Colombia and most notably Costa Rica, where local telecoms monopoly ICE launched satellite broadband access in May.
A major project being lined up by Andesat is the launch of its own satellite, the Simón Bolivar, to be operated in partnership with Brazil’s Star One. Previously scheduled for launch late 2004, the project is now postponed with no new launch date because of ownership changes at Star One parent company Embratel (NYSE: EMT) and the economic downturn in the region.
Star One has decided instead to prioritize its C1 satellite, planned for launch in 2006 to replace another Star One unit. Andesat will have about 72MHz capacity on C1 but has not yet decided whether to opt for Ku band or C band. The C1 project also depends on other factors, such as Star One’s success in negotiating signal landing rights in the US.
Until the project with Star One gets off the ground, Andesat relies on capacity leased from Mexico’s Satmex and US satellite operator Panamsat (Nasdaq: SPOT). Andesat competes for their corporate customers to a certain degree, Escobar admitted, but they in turn benefit from Andesat’s penetration in the region. The company provides international connection services for 35-40 clients at present.
Andesat increased its C band capacity with Satmex for the satellite internet service, using a VSAT broadband access platform supplied by US satellite solutions provider Aloha Networks.
By Phil Anderson