Abu Dhabi’s YahSat has accumulated 30,000 global customers for its satellite broadband service YahClick as it finalises plans to award a contract for the design and manufacture of its third satellite.
Between 60 and 70 per cent of the service’s subscribers are in African markets, according to the company’s chief executive Masood Sharif Mahmood.
YahClick, which launched commercially in 2012, had 20,000 subscribers at the end of last year. The service is available in 14 countries across the Middle East, Africa, central and south-west Asia.
The company is in the process of rolling out the service across the remaining 14 countries in its satellite footprint, said Mr Mahmood.
Yahsat announced last month that it would launch its third satellite, Yah 3. The new satellite will expand the company’s Ka-band coverage – which offers satellite broadband and backhaul, or data distribution, services for telecoms networks – to an additional 17 countries and 600 million users across Africa and Latin America, including coverage for more than 95 per cent of the population in Brazil.
Ka-band provides increased spectrum compared with other frequency ranges such as C-band and Ku-band, enabling greater volumes of traffic to be transmitted.
Mr Mahmoud said a contract for the design and manufacture of the third satellite, scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2016, will be announced in the coming months.
“We’re in the final stages of making a decision,” he said. “I’d say the decision has pretty much been made, we’re just going through the final formalities.”
In addition to Astrium and Thales, which together built the company’s two existing satellites, YahSat has held discussions with Boeing, Loral and Orbital Sciences for the design and manufacture of the new satellite.
The company’s first satellite, Y1A, was launched in April 2011, followed by Y1B a year later.
YahSat, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government’s strategic investment vehicle Mubadala Development, offers satellite services to the UAE Government in addition to its commercial services.
While the majority of the company’s revenues come from government, the commercial segment is expected to grow to match those revenues in the coming years, said Mr Mahmood.
“We’ve seen commercial revenues ramping up in a healthy way over the last years,” he said, declining to give further details.
“I think within five years the commercial business will be on par with the government business.”
In addition to YahClick, the company offers HD satellite TV services, satellite links for corporate data networks and mobile phone operators, together with managed communications services for both government and commercial players.