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Thu 7 Aug 2008 05:11 PM

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Arabsat secures satellite capacity for next decade

Operator launches BADR-6 as part of ambitious fleet expansion.

Emerging Markets Communications (EMC) and Arabsat have signed a US $85 million deal that ensures EMC’s C-band space capacity on Arabsat’s satellite fleet for the next 10 years. This will cover the entire African and the central Asian countries for the next ten years.

“It is no secret that getting satellite capacity is one of the major challenges the industry is going to face in the years to come,” commented Abel Avellan, president of EMC. “This agreement with Arabsat allows EMC to keep providing its customers a full range of options and will assure capacity for their networks.”

Arabsat currently owns and operates four satellites at two orbital positions, including Arabsat-2B at 30.5 degrees East. In addition to this, Arabsat has also embarked on an ambitious plan to outgrow its fleet with the launch of one new satellite each year as of 2008.

This includes BADR-6, which was launched last month and Arabsat-5A, which was due in the fourth quarter of 2009. BADR-6 will be positioned at the 26 degrees East orbital position and Arabsat-5A at 30.5 degrees East, replacing Arabsat-2B for full continuity and expansion towards new markets.

Speaking about the deal, Khalid Balkheyour, president & CEO of Arabsat added: “We feel honoured to have been able to convince such a large telecommunications player such as EMC that our BADR-6 satellite is currently the best option on the market to guarantee their long-term growth over the Middle East and Africa regions. We consider this contract to be a major milestone in our ambitious deployment plan towards the sub-Saharan African market. We also believe it marks the beginning of a long-term partnership with EMC whose expansion we’ll be equipped to support further with our forthcoming three 5th generation satellites in 2009, 2010, and 2011.”